French regulators on Tuesday ordered Apple to halt sales of the iPhone 12 for emitting too much electromagnetic radiation, and to fix existing handsets.
The French agency that regulates radio frequencies, the ANFR, said that following testing it ‘ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 12 from the French market from September 12 due to the model exceeding the limit’ for electromagnetic absorption by the body.
‘Concerning phones already sold, Apple must in the briefest of delays take corrective measures to bring the affected phones into compliance,’ the ANFR said in a statement on its website. ‘Otherwise, Apple will have to recall them.’
France’s junior minister for the digital economy Jean-Noel Barrot told newspaper Le Parisien in an interview published on Tuesday that a software update would be sufficient to fix the radiation issues linked to the phone which the U.S. company has been selling since 2020.
‘Apple is expected to respond within two weeks’, he said, adding: ‘If they fail to do so, I am prepared to order a recall of all iPhones 12 in circulation. The rule is the same for everyone, including the digital giants.’
The ANFR said accredited labs had found absorption of electromagnetic energy by the body at 5.74 watts per kilogram during tests simulating when the phone was being held in the hand or kept in a pocket.
The European standard is a specific absorption rate of 4.0 watts per kilogram in such tests.
The ANFR said its agents would verify that iPhone 12 models were no longer being offered for sale in France, starting Wednesday.
When contacted by AFP, Apple insisted in a statement that it is compliant with exposure limits and would continue to engage with the French regulator to demonstrate that.
The French watchdog will now pass on its findings to regulators in other EU member states.
‘In practical terms, this decision could have a snowball effect’, said Barrot.
Regulators in a number of countries have limits on the amount of electromagnetic radiation mobile phones may emit to prevent adverse health effects.
The World Health Organization states on its website that following a large number of studies that ‘no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use’.
In 2020, France widened regulations requiring retailers to display the radiation value of products on packaging beyond mobile phones, including tablets and other electronic devices.
The news from France came the same day that Apple unveiled its new iPhone 15 lineup, which will feature better cameras, faster processors, a new charging system and a price hike for the fanciest model.