This is the end of a standoff between the multinational and the French and European authorities. “After discussions and as requested (Tuesday) by the ANFR (the frequency agency), the manufacturer Apple assured me that it would implement an update on the iPhone 12 in the coming days,” says this Friday the French Minister for Digital Affairs, Jean-Noël Barrot.
“We will release a software update for French users to reflect the protocol used by French regulatory authorities,” an Apple spokesperson said in a separate statement.
If the manufacturer has decided to comply with European standards on the level of wave emission, it is to put an end to the withdrawal of the marketing of the iPhone 12 in France, in effect since Wednesday. This model exceeded the regulatory limit value corresponding to the energy that can be absorbed by the human body when the phone is held in the hand by 1.74 W per kilogram (W/kg).
However, the case is not yet closed. Once the update is published, the ANFR will have two weeks to conduct laboratory tests to verify whether it has actually allowed the iPhone 12 to fall below the wave emission thresholds. If this is the case, the measures will be lifted and merchants will once again be able to offer the iPhone 12 for purchase. In the opposite scenario, the ANFR will confirm the sales ban and may order the recall of the devices concerned. This measure is extremely rare. It has been pronounced four times since 2019 for the Razer Phone 2, Echo Horizon Lite, Leagoo S8 and Allview X4 Soul Mini smartphones.
Apple continues to maintain that its product, released in 2020, complies with the standards defined around the world by numerous international organizations. “French regulators use a specific testing protocol,” explains the spokesperson. The brand has provided the ANFR with the results of independent laboratory studies carried out by third parties to demonstrate that its devices meet the standards.
This is not the first time that the frequency agency has taken measures against manufacturers, with around forty smartphones implicated since 2017: Wiko, Huawei, Nokia, Motorola, Xiaomi, One Plus, RealMe, Logicom, Essentiel B or Samsung. But Apple had never before been singled out by the organization.
Exceeding the measurement is probably harmless. Moreover, “the non-compliance detected did not justify an immediate recall,” assures the ANFR. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “there is currently no evidence that exposure to low-intensity electromagnetic fields is dangerous to human health.”