Earlier this week, France banned the sale of the iPhone 12 smartphone because the government claimed that the phone emitted radiation beyond allowable levels.
Unsurprisingly, Apple has “moved to defuse” the situation, according to Reuters. Apple says that it will issue a software update to the iPhone 12 to ensure that the device passes the restrictions of the French regulatory agency that determined that the iPhone 12 was too radioactive in its stringent testing.
Despite pledging to deploy a software update, Apple still disputes the French government’s findings and insists that the iPhone 12 in its current state poses no health risk to its users. To its credit, the Apple iPhone 12, like all iPhone devices, was certified by various international bodies and was compliant with global standards.
“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. This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern,” an Apple spokesperson says.
Other member states of the European Union were alerted of France’s findings earlier this week, and some have already taken action. Belgium has performed its own testing and based on the preliminary results, the iPhone 12 in its current state poses no danger to users due to radiation.
Germany has been in contact with France hoping to find a resolution that could be implemented across the EU. Per Reuters, a government source in Rome has said that Italy was going to formally ask Apple to release a software update.
Once Apple’s promised software update is available, France’s Agence Nationale des Frequences (ANFR) will test the phone again.
The iPhone 12 initially raised red flags for the ANFR in the agency’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) testing. This test measures the rate at which radiofrequency energy is absorbed by the body from an electronic device, like a smartphone.
In 2020, France changed its regulations to allow SAR testing for limbs, such as when someone is holding a smartphone in their hand. It was these limb tests that the iPhone 12 failed, likely due to the significantly reduced distance from which radiation is measured.
Even though the iPhone 12 failed one of ANFR’s tests, there is no evidence that the device poses a health risk. The test’s standards are far below radiation levels that scientists believe causes harm, and the test is based on an unrealistic usage scenario.
“Based on the available information, the Danish Health Authority’s assessment is that you can continue to use your iPhone 12 without concern,” the authority explains.
Belgian minister for digitalization, Mathieu Michel, has stated that the country’s regulator was closely looking at the iPhone 12 but that early results from testing suggested there was no need for the device to be recalled in the country.
“Ultimately I suspect the whole incident will be quickly forgotten,” says Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insights, a global authority on technology.
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