France threatens total recall of iPhone 12 over RF power concerns

Posted:
in iPhone

At about the same time the iPhone 15 launched, France has declared that the iPhone 12 cannot be sold in the country, because it reportedly exceeds the country's legal limit for radio frequency exposure.

Assorted iPhone 12 models
Assorted iPhone 12 models



The ban was implemented after France's radiation watchdog, Agence nationale des frequences (ANFR), did its own testing on the iPhone 12. Without revealing the testing methodology or the results, a French minister said that the iPhone 12 exceeded the country's Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for RF exposure.

"Apple is expected to respond within two weeks", Jean-Noel Barrot, France's junior minister for the Digital economy told Le Parisian "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."

RF radiation is not the same as ionizing radiation generated by decay of radioactive isotopes, and from the sun itself -- and the mechanism of damage is different. Ionizing radiation breaks the bonds in cells, where sufficiently high levels of RF radiation can heat tissue and could theoretically cause tissue damage.

Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) refers to the rate at which the body absorbs RF energy. A SAR of 1 watt per kilogram would increase the temperature of an insulated slab of tissue by one degree Celsius per hour of exposure at that wattage, and does not account for the loss of that temperature increase from any other factor.

SAR is a measure of that heat, and not an absolute measure of damage. Generated heat is what can theoretically cause damage from RF exposure.

The ANFR claims to have found absorption at 5.74 watts per kilogram for its testing on-contact. The EU limit for on-contact exposure is 4 watts per kilogram.

ANFR did note, however, that the test at 5 centimeters from the broadcasting element to the ersatz tissue was in compliance with the international regulation of 2 watts per kilogram, which Apple's own testing confirms.

Apple's testing conforms to an international industry standard. As Apple says, during testing, iPhone radios are set to highest transmission possible manually and SAR is evaluated in real time, over time intervals as specified by applicable regulations. Apple says that its SAR testing is evaluated in positions that simulate uses against the head, with no separation, plus when worn or carried against the torso of the body, with 5mm separation.

Barrot seems to believe that a software patch will fix the issue. France's ANFR is providing its findings to other regulators in EU countries. Apple does not appear to have made a comment on the issue as of yet.

Press releases about the issue were issued earlier on Tuesday, but at publication time, error out. It's not clear if the press releases were retracted, or if a technical issue is preventing the page render.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    maltzmaltz Posts: 446member

    France threatens total recall of iPhone 12 over RF power concerns


    iPhone 12 radiation testing subject:




    kdupuis77StrangeDaysentropysAlex_VAlex1NiloveapplegearappleinsideruserFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,697member
    This, in a country with no nuclear power stations; they like to be safe... oh wait a minute...
    williamlondonentropysAlex1NFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    Did they change the requirement? Seems that a measurement like this would have been completely specified by the requirement with calibrated equipment so it doesn’t make sense that they would suddenly be out of compliance for a product released three years ago.
    williamlondonAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    Surely, these tests are performed as soon as the devices first appear and not after several years. What's the conspiracy here?
    muthuk_vanalingamAlex1NFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,697member
    Surely, these tests are performed as soon as the devices first appear and not after several years. What's the conspiracy here?
    Right, and I could be wrong but, it is hard to imagine the iPhones before and after the 12 are all that different. 
    edited September 2023 muthuk_vanalingamAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,994member
    MacPro said:
    This, in a country with no nuclear power stations; they like to be safe... oh wait a minute...
    Their stance on nuclear is great.  Nuclear power is safe. 
    entropysbaconstangRonnyDaddywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,683member
    They want money just that simple…..
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    chadbag said:
    MacPro said:
    This, in a country with no nuclear power stations; they like to be safe... oh wait a minute...
    Their stance on nuclear is great.  Nuclear power is safe. 
    True, but MacPro was still funny.
    edited September 2023 Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    Surely, these tests are performed as soon as the devices first appear and not after several years. What's the conspiracy here?
    Most likely they are, and don't call me Shirley.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 15
    chadbag said:
    Their stance on nuclear is great.  Nuclear power is safe. 
    “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    Hmm…that’s not at all weird… 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    So it took them 3 years to record the SAR for the iPhone 12? Expect a recall of the iPhone 13 next year when the iPhone 16 is launched.
    muthuk_vanalingamAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,508member
    Every device of this kinds is tied to a declaration of comformity so at the very least I would imagine that phone met all regulatory requirements at some point.

    I suppose something has gone wrong somewhere if a conflict has emerged. 



    muthuk_vanalingamAlex1NFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 14 of 15
    chadbag said:
    MacPro said:
    This, in a country with no nuclear power stations; they like to be safe... oh wait a minute...
    Their stance on nuclear is great.  Nuclear power is safe. 
    Safe relative to what? Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. Fukushima. There are plenty of things that can go seriously wrong + it generates radioactive waste. That said, the main problem with nuclear power is that it doesn't generate enough power relative to the huge costs of building the reactors. It is a highly inefficient way to generate power. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    France whinging about radiation when they're the ones who blew up a beautiful tropical island seems a little on the nose doesn't it?

    And why only after the iPhone 15 release? Why only the 12? And why didn't it pick this up when the iPhone 12 was released into France?

    France really hates Apple doesn't it? If France hates you it WILL make stuff up to try and get you on something illegal.
    watto_cobra
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