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Apple to issue software update for iPhone 12 in France after sales halted over radiation fears

A woman walks past a closed Apple Store in Lille, northern France, 16 March 2020.
A woman walks past a closed Apple Store in Lille, northern France, 16 March 2020. Copyright Michel Spingler/AP Photo
Copyright Michel Spingler/AP Photo
By Lauren Chadwick
Published on Updated
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French authorities said that the specific radiation absorption rate measured in a recent test of the iPhone 12 was higher than the European limit.

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Apple will issue a new software update for the iPhone 12 in France, the company said on Friday, after French authorities halted sales of the smartphone this week.

"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," the company said in a statement provided to Euronews Next.

France's National Frequency Agency (ANFR) had said earlier in the week that the phone emitted too much electromagnetic radiation in a recent test.

It ordered Apple "to implement all available means to quickly remedy this malfunction" or said the government would have to recall the phones already sold in France.

The French agency, which monitors public exposure to electromagnetic waves, said the specific absorption rate (SAR) when the phone was tested was over the authorised limit. The SAR measures the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the human body.

"This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern," Apple said in a statement provided to Euronews Next on Friday.

"Since it was introduced in 2020, iPhone 12 has been certified and recognised as meeting or exceeding all applicable SAR regulations and standards around the world," Apple added.

Potential for an EU-wide ban

France's junior minister in charge of digital, Jean-Noël Barrot, said that he had spoken several times with Apple's teams since the decision to withdraw the phone from the French market this week.

"After discussions and as demanded by the ANFR, Apple assured me that it would implement an update on the iPhone 12 in the coming days," Barrot said.

"The ANFR is prepared to quickly test this software update which would allow the model to come into compliance with European standards applied in France and lift the marketing withdrawal".

The European Commission confirmed to Euronews Next that due to the EU directive on radio equipment, a French halt on iPhone 12 sales could result in an EU-wide ban.

The iPhone 12 was first released by Apple in 2020. The company recently held a launch event in California in the US for the release of iPhone 15.

The latest iPhone includes a USB-C charger after European lawmakers passed a law requiring a single charging solution for all electronic devices.

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