Apple Responds After Warning Issued About Certain iPhones

A French regulator claims the iPhone 12 emits excessive amounts of radiation, which Apple denied.
Apple Responds After Warning Issued About Certain iPhones
A woman uses her iPhone in front of the building housing the Israeli NSO group, in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, Israel, on Aug. 28, 2016. (Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Apple Inc. on Thursday denied claims made by a French regulator this week about the iPhone 12’s radiation levels, although the firm still issued a software update to settle a dispute over the matter.

“We will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators. We look forward to iPhone 12 continuing to be available in France,” Apple said in a statement to multiple news outlets.

The Cupertino, California-based tech giant said the update is “related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern.”

“Since it was introduced in 2020, iPhone 12 has been certified and recognized as meeting or exceeding all applicable SAR regulations and standards around the world,” Apple stated, referring to the “specific absorption rate” used to determine how much radio frequency is absorbed into the body.

In response to Apple’s announced update,  Noel Barrot, a French digital affairs minister, told the Financial Times that France’s National Frequency Agency, or ANFR, is “preparing to quickly test this update.” He also said that Apple has been in communication with French authorities regarding the matter.
Earlier in the week, French officials announced a ban on iPhone 12 models after a test found that its SAR exceeded European radiation exposure limits. It also announced that Apple must correct all iPhone 12s that are currently in use “to bring the telephones into conformity as soon as possible” or Apple would have to issue a recall, according to a statement.

“Apple must immediately take all measures to prevent the affected phones present in the supply chain from being made available,” France’s digital regulatory body said Tuesday.

Days later, Belgium said that it will similarly review any health-related risks that the iPhone 12 might pose. German officials have said they are watching the developments closely, according to the Reuters news agency.

A Belgian official, Mathieu Michel, said in a statement on Friday that while a review of the phone by the country’s regulator was still underway, the first results were “reassuring” and there was no need for a recall of the phone in Belgium. Regardless, he contacted Apple to “review its software updates in an identical manner within the whole of Europe,” Reuters reported.

Denmark, meanwhile, moved to reassure owners of the phone, saying its Safety Authority would not take action following France’s findings and that it was not concerned about radiation levels from using the iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 phones are seen at the new Apple Store on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, California, on June 24, 2021. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
iPhone 12 phones are seen at the new Apple Store on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, California, on June 24, 2021. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

“Based on the available information, the Danish Health Authority’s assessment is that you can continue to use your iPhone 12 without concern,” it said in an emailed statement.

Industry experts have stated there were no safety risks as regulatory limits, based on the risk of burns or heatstroke from the phone’s radiation, were set well below levels where scientists have found evidence of harm.

“Ultimately I suspect the whole incident will be quickly forgotten,” said Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, highlighting that the iPhone 12 is an old model that Apple likely will phase out soon, according to Reuters.

Apple’s revenues were about $95 billion in Europe last year, making the region its second biggest behind the Americas. Some estimates say it sold more than 50 million iPhones last year in Europe.

On Tuesday, Apple launched the iPhone 15—its latest model—which features a USB-C charger instead of Apple’s longstanding Lightning connector cable. That change was made after the European Union mandated that all smartphones starting in 2024 use USB-C cables.
Despite the threats issued by the French government, the World Health Organization has said that radiation levels from smartphones pose little risk. “To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use,” the U.N. body says on its website, citing a “large number of studies” over the years on the topic.
However, according to an American Cancer Society article, there have been studies over the years that have shown “mixed results.” Its article primarily focused on RF waves, which are relayed by phones to cellular towers and that “don’t have enough energy to cause cancer by directly damaging the DNA.”

“Some studies have found a possible link between cell phone use and brain tumors, while others have not,” the U.S. cancer organization’s article says. “For example, several studies published by the same research group in Sweden have reported an increased risk of brain tumors in people using cell phones. However, there was no apparent overall increase in brain tumors in Sweden during the years that correspond to these reports.”

Because “it is not clear at this time that RF waves from cell phones cause harmful health effects in people” and “until more is known,” it recommended several steps people can take if one is concerned about RF waves to limit their exposure. They include using speaker mode or video chat feature, a hands-free earpiece, limiting a child’s cellphone usage, texting instead of talking, and finding a smartphone with a low SAR value.

Reuters contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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