France has ordered Apple to stop selling the iPhone 12 for emitting too much electromagnetic radiation. On Tuesday, the French watchdog which governs radio frequencies also told the tech giant to fix existing phones. The ANFR has advised Apple that if it cannot resolve the issue via a software update, it must recall every iPhone 12 ever sold in the country.
But the World Health Organization has previously sought to allay fears about radiation emitted by mobile phones. It says on its website there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to humans. The iPhone 12 was first released in September 2020, and it is still sold worldwide.
Apple told the BBC it was contesting the ANFR’s review, and said it had provided the regulator with lab results from the tech giant itself and third parties which show the device is compliant with all the relevant rules. It said the iPhone 12 was recognised as being compliant with regulations on radiation levels worldwide.
France’s digital minister Jean-Noel Barrot told French newspaper Le Parisien the decision was due to radiation levels above the acceptable threshold, according to Reuters. He said the ANFR found the iPhone 12’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) was above what is legally allowed.
“Apple is expected to respond within two weeks,” he said. “If they fail to do so, I am prepared to order a recall of all iPhones 12 in circulation. The rule is the same for everyone, including the digital giants.”
The ANFR said the device’s SAR was 5.74 watts per kilogram – above the limit set by the European Union (EU) for a phone when it is held or kept in a pocket. It will share its findings with other regulators across the trading bloc. The news first broke on Tuesday in France – the same day that Apple unveiled its new iPhone 15.
The new phone is the first since 2012 to feature an alternative charging port, and Apple says it will sell an adapter so people can use their existing cables.