Radiation Rumble: iPhone 12 Banned in France!

iPhone 12
Image (Apple Website)

The Agence nationale des Fréquences (AFNR) has determined that the iPhone 12 emits more than permitted levels of radiation in certain scenarios. With SAR levels over 40% higher than allowed if an iPhone 12 is in a pocket, the AFNR has ordered Apple to stop selling the affected model immediately until it can find a resolution.

The French radio authority Agence nationale des Fréquences (AFNR) has announced that Apple may no longer sell the iPhone 12 in France with immediate effect. In a press release, ANFR states that the iPhone 12 breaches EU regulations concerning emitted radiation, having tested 141 units so far. For reference, the EU restricts smartphones to a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of 2.0 watts per kilogram (W/kg) in physical contact and 4.0 W/kg with the same device placed in a trouser or jacket pocket.

According to ANFR, the iPhone 12's it tested complied with the first threshold value. However, the smartphone emitted 5.74 W/kg in the second test. In other words, the iPhone 12 exceeded the EU's limits by 43.5% in this instance. The authority has also passed on its analysis to its counterparts in neighboring countries, likely causing a domino effect.

As Reuters notes, French Minister Jean-Noel Barrot expects Apple to address this problem via a software update within the next few weeks. If not, Apple must recall all iPhone 12 units sold in France, possibly in other EU member states too. It is worth noting that Apple has not commented on the matter yet, so it is unclear whether these are isolated cases, defective devices, or the result of a faulty software update.

Understanding the iPhone 12 Radiation Issue

The recent ban on the iPhone 12 in France due to excessive radiation emissions has raised concerns among consumers and regulatory authorities alike. Let's delve deeper into the issue to gain a better understanding.

The Agence nationale des Fréquences (AFNR), the regulatory body responsible for managing radio frequencies in France, has conducted tests on the iPhone 12 and found that it emits radiation levels that exceed the limits set by the European Union (EU) in certain usage scenarios.

The EU has established Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limits for smartphones to ensure the safety of users. SAR measures the rate at which the body absorbs radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic field energy, and it is expressed in watts per kilogram (W/kg). For phones in physical contact with the body, such as when held to the ear, the SAR limit is set at 2.0 W/kg. When the phone is in a trouser or jacket pocket, the limit is 4.0 W/kg.

ANFR's tests on the iPhone 12 revealed that it complied with the SAR limit of 2.0 W/kg in the first test scenario. However, in the second scenario where the phone was placed in a pocket, it emitted 5.74 W/kg, surpassing the EU's limits by a significant 43.5%. This finding has raised concerns about the potential health risks associated with prolonged exposure to such high levels of RF radiation.

Implications of the Ban

The ban on the iPhone 12 in France has several important implications for both consumers and Apple:

1. Consumer Safety

The primary concern that led to the ban is consumer safety. High levels of RF radiation can potentially have adverse health effects over time. While the immediate risk is considered low, prolonged exposure to radiation exceeding established limits raises concerns about long-term health impacts, including an increased risk of cancer.

Consumers who have purchased an iPhone 12 are advised to limit their exposure to the device, especially when carrying it in their pockets. This precautionary measure aims to minimize potential health risks.

2. Regulatory Compliance

Apple is obligated to comply with EU regulations, which include adhering to SAR limits. The iPhone 12's failure to meet these limits has led to the ban in France and the potential for similar actions in other EU member states. This highlights the importance of rigorous testing and adherence to regulatory standards by smartphone manufacturers.

3. Software Update and Recall

French Minister Jean-Noel Barrot has urged Apple to address the radiation issue promptly. Apple's response is eagerly anticipated, with expectations that the company will release a software update to mitigate the problem. Such an update could reduce radiation emissions when the phone is in close proximity to the body.

However, if Apple fails to provide a satisfactory solution through a software update, it may be required to recall all iPhone 12 units sold in France. This recall could potentially extend to other EU countries if similar issues are identified.

What Could Have Caused the Issue?

As of now, the exact cause of the iPhone 12's radiation emission issue remains unclear. Several possibilities could explain the problem:

1. Hardware Design

One possible cause could be related to the phone's hardware design. It's possible that certain components or the arrangement of internal hardware elements contribute to higher radiation emissions when the phone is in close proximity to the body.

2. Software Glitch

Another possibility is a software glitch or error in the phone's operating system. Software issues can sometimes lead to abnormal behavior in electronic devices, including increased radiation emissions.

3. Manufacturing Defect

It's also conceivable that a manufacturing defect in specific batches of iPhone 12 units may be responsible for the elevated radiation levels. This would suggest that not all iPhone 12 devices are affected.


The ban on the iPhone 12 in France due to excessive radiation emissions is a significant development in the world of smartphone regulation. It underscores the importance of stringent adherence to safety standards and the need for manufacturers to address potential issues promptly.

Consumers are advised to stay informed about updates from Apple regarding the issue and to follow any safety guidelines provided. Additionally, regulatory authorities in other countries will likely monitor the situation closely, potentially leading to further actions if similar problems are identified.

As technology continues to advance, ensuring the safety of electronic devices remains a critical concern, and incidents like this serve as a reminder of the importance of ongoing testing and regulatory oversight.

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Source: ANFRReuters

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