Tech giant Apple said on Friday it would issue a software update for all iPhone 12 users in France “in the next few days” after regulators raised concerns that these devices breach the European Union’s radiation exposure limit.
For those unaware, earlier this week, French watchdog group Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR) released a public statement announcing that the iPhone 12 released in 2020 breaches radiation levels that exceed the limit permitted to be absorbed by the human body.
The ANFR recently checked the specific absorption rates (SAR) of 141 mobile phones, including Apple’s iPhone 12, sold in the French market. SAR is a measure of the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the body from the equipment being measured.
As per the French agency, the phones were analyzed both when they are near the body, i.e. in your hand or pocket, and when they are at a distance of 5 millimeters, such as in the pocket of a jacket or in a bag.
The ANFR found out that iPhone 12’s SAR was 5.74 watts per kilogram, which is above the limit set by the European Union for a phone when held or kept in a pocket.
The watchdog notified Apple of the findings and ordered a temporary halt on the sales of iPhone 12, and directed the tech giant to release a fix as quickly as possible or face a recall.
“The French National Frequencies Agency (ANFR) is instructing Apple to withdraw the iPhone 12 from the French market as of September 12, 2023, after the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limit for this model was exceeded,” the French agency wrote in a statement on Tuesday.
“ANFR enjoins Apple to implement all available means to rapidly remedy this malfunction. Failing this, Apple will be required to recall any units already sold,” it added.
Although Apple disputed the findings, saying the iPhone 12 was certified by multiple international bodies as compliant with global radiation standards. To prove their claim, the Cupertino giant also added that it had submitted various lab results conducted by Apple and third parties.
However, the company on Friday said it would still issue a software update to comply with a specific testing protocol used by regulators. It also added that there were no safety concerns with its phone, and it does not pose a health risk for users.
“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 Reuters.
“This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern,” it added.
Welcoming the decision of Apple, the French government said once the software update has been issued, it shall be verified by the ANFR. If it passes the test, they would re-allow the sales of the iPhone 12.