A report from Reuters says that a French agency, Agence Nationale des Fréquence (ANFR), has told Apple to stop selling the iPhone 12 because their testing shows it emits too much radio frequency radiation.
All mobile phones emit this sort of non-ionizing radiation, just as all products with radio emitters do, and various international bodies have regulations to limit how much they can emit. They measure the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)—how much radiation is absorbed by the body—and the French agency’s claim is that the iPhone 12 is over the legal limit.
It should be noted that the legal limit is far below what scientists say is dangerous (10 times below, in fact), so there is no potential harm to consumers. What’s more, the WHO and other health agencies have not been able to find any link between mobile phone use and health problems related to radiation, even with decades of use and billions of mobile phone users globally.
The ANFR said it will send agents to stores to make sure Apple is no longer selling the iPhone 12, and failure to comply would result in a recall of units already sold to customers.
Apple disputes the claims and says it will contest the findings. The company says that the iPhone 12 was certified compliant by multiple international bodies and had provided several Apple and third-party lab results proving the phone’s compliance to the French agency.
The French authorities apparently use different testing methodology than most regulatory bodies do, which has led to 42 devices being pulled from shelves so far. This is the first time an Apple product has been affected, however. It’s not clear whether the ANFR tested the iPhone 13 or 14.
The sales stoppage is likely of little concern to Apple. The iPhone 12 is three years old and is about to disappear from stores anyway, as the iPhone 15 launches (iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 models will still be sold). Almost all iPhone 12 models that will be sold, have been sold. The greater threat is that non-compliance, for example with refurbished units, could trigger a mandatory recall.