France Forces Apple To Halt iPhone 12 Sales Over Radiation Levels, Issues Recall Threat

hero apple tim cook
France is demanding Apple withdraw its iPhone 12 from the French market due to recent studies completed by the Agence nationale des fréquences (ANFR), showing the smartphone exceeds the specific absorption rate (SAR) the EU allows. The agency tested 141 mobile phones, including the iPhone 12.

On the same day Apple announced its newest iPhone 15 family of smartphones, the ANFR put out its own iPhone-related news. The French agency reported that an accredited laboratory recently tested Apple's iPhone 12 and was in violation of compliance with EU regulations. Apple immediately disputed the results, stating it had complied with all radiation regulations.

The ANFR stated in a press release, "Apple must immediately adopt all necessary measures to prevent the iPhone 12 in the supply chain from being made available on the market." It added that the Cupertino-based company must adopt all necessary measures to bring all iPhone 12s already in use "into conformity as soon as possible, otherwise, Apple will have to recall the equipment."

apple iphone 12 purple
Apple iPhone 12

It explained that the iPhone 12 exceeds the threshold when radiation levels were assessed for a phone in a jacket or a bag. The agency reported it found a level of electromagnetic energy absorption of 5.74 watts per kilogram during testing, which is higher than the European Union standard of 4 watts per kilogram.

Apple argues that its iPhone 12 passed multiple lab assessments by the company and third-party labs. Because of this, the company says it has proven the smartphone complies with EU regulations.

Jean-Noël Barrot, France's minister in charge of digital issues, remarked to a French radio station that ANFR "is in charge of controlling our phones which, as there are software updates, may emit a little more or a little less electromagnetic waves."

iphone 15 pro colors
Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Barrot added that the iPhone 12 radiation levels are "slightly higher" than the standards but "significantly lower than levels where scientific studies consider there may be consequences for users." He concluded, "But the rule is the rule."

Anyone concerned about possible radiation exposure while using any smartphone can lessen the risk by turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they are not needed. By turning off these transmitters, a user can lower the RF radiation exposure to their head by 15.2%, according to a report by Radio Frequency Safe. Another simple tip is to use the smartphone's built-in speaker while taking calls, allowing users to keep the device away from their heads altogether.

While France may be taking a hard stance against Apple and its iPhone 12, the World Health Organization has said following many studies, "no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use."