Apple to update iPhone 12 in France after fears over radiation

Apple has agreed to install updates for iPhone 12 smartphones in France after French regulators ordered the company to stop selling the model

Andrew Griffin
Friday 15 September 2023 16:49 BST
France iPhone 12
France iPhone 12

Apple will update the iPhone 12 in France after fears it was emitting too much radiation.

The company will issue an update to users in the country that it said would address regulators’ concerns.

It comes after officials ordered Apple to stop selling the phone, saying that testing showed that its radiation was over European Union Standards.

Apple says that the iPhone 12 is safe and that it has successfully passed a range of tests in countries around the world. It has blamed the specific testing used by the French agency in charge, saying that the problems were “related to a specific testing protocol”.

The French agency said the iPhone 12 recently failed one of two types of tests for electromagnetic waves capable of being absorbed by the body. On Tuesday, France’s government ordered a halt to sales of the iPhone 12 and told Apple to issue a software update to address the problem or face a recall.

Apple said in a statement Friday that it “will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators.” It did not elaborate.

The French ban could have extended to all 27 EU countries after three months if Apple had refused to issue updates and if no other government objected, European Commission spokesperson Sonya Gospodinova said Thursday.

France’s digital affairs minister said the iPhone 12’s radiation levels are still much lower than what scientific studies consider potentially harmful to users, and the radiation agency acknowledged that its tests don’t reflect typical phone use.

Cellphones have been labeled as possible carcinogens by the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, putting them in the same category as coffee, diesel fumes and the pesticide DDT. The radiation produced by cellphones cannot directly damage DNA and is different from stronger types of radiation like X-rays or ultraviolet light.

Experts have recommended that people concerned about their cellphone radiation exposure use earphones or switch to texting.

Additional reporting by agencies

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