IT COULD BE TIME to switch to Android. That is, if you consider potential radiation-related injuries a deal breaker. Apple has been forced to temporarily pause sales of the iPhone 12 in France after a safety regulator found the devices emit levels of radiation that exceed limits imposed by the European Union.

Apple has responded to the ban by reassuring regulators that the iPhone 12 was extensively tested for radiation emissions and certified by multiple international bodies to comply with safety standards. The ban still stands however, and it could remain in place until the radiation issue is resolved. More countries could also follow suit, inflicting a chink in the armour of the world’s most profitable company.

Wait! Before you throw your outdated phone out your window out of the fear it’s a ticking time bomb bursting at the seams with radioactive ooze, it’s important to know all the facts. We’ve answered all your most poignant and pressing question on the subject. From Australia potentially following France’s lead to whether or not the phone is actually dangerous, this is everything you need to know about the iPhone 12 ban.

Why did France ban the iPhone 12?

To be clear, France hasn’t yet implemented a full-scale product recall for the iPhone 12, but has prevented any further sales of the phone. Considering that the iPhone 12 was released way back in 2020, the news might come as a shock to anyone who’s been keeping the device in their pocket everyday for the last three years.

French regulator L’Agence Nationale Des Fréquences (ANFR) says new tests showed the phone is exceeding limits imposed by the European Union in an area called the ‘specific absorption rate’ (SAR). The SAR is a measure of how much electromagnetic radiation the phone can transfer to your body in close proximity. And the typical energy limit under European regulations is a SAR of 4.0 watts per kilogram. Tests of the iPhone 12 have revealed a SAR of 5.74 watts per kilogram.

Apple has been told to “take corrective action as soon as possible” to prevent harm being caused by iPhone 12’s that have already been sold. Thankfully, the French junior minister for the digital economy has said that a minor software update would probably be enough to fix any radiation issues. Which means if you already own an iPhone 12, you can wipe the sweat off your brow.

Will Australia ban iPhones?

Australia also has a safety regulator for radiation exposure from phones. It’s called the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and a spokesperson for the authority has said they’re aware of France’s decision and are weighing up their options.

“We are looking at the testing methodology they used to come to this decision,” an ACMA spokesperson told SBS News. The iPhone 12, like all other mobile devices available down under, had to undergo rigorous testing before it was launched. Those tests turned up no issues, and an ACMA spokesperson has assured consumers that “There is no evidence that the device is non-compliant with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) standard.” So, the iPhone 12 is safe in Australia for now, but it’s likely counting it’s days.

Will more countries ban iPhones?

France’s ban has sent shockwaves around the world. We have to assume a bunch of safety regulators were rudely awakened this morning, read the news, and quickly went into damage control to determine whether the iPhone 12 is safe or not. So far no countries besides France have implemented bans, but German regulators have announced they’re conducting their own investigations and have been in close contact with their French counterparts. While a Spanish consumer protection group has called for sales of the phone to be brought to a halt.

Are people at risk from phone radiation?

That’s the question on everyone’s lips, isn’t it? Just how dangerous are these vastly powerful devices that have become so ubiquitous that it’s perfectly normal to keep them within arms reach for 24 hours of the day? Well, you’ll be happy—or perhaps disappointed, depending on your life goals—to hear that radiation from a handheld mobile device won’t give you superpowers and would have to be incredibly high to cause any kind of major damage.

The main risk from phone radiation is not poisoning, but burns. Radiation emitted by phones can make your cells hot and can technically cause burns when kept in close proximity for extended periods, but a SAR of more than 20 watts per kilogram would be required to do so. A reminder: the iPhone 12 only measured at a rate of 5.74 watts per kilogram.

Does this change the iPhone 15 rollout?

France’s ban of the iPhone 12 hasn’t exactly come at a great time for Apple, as the global brand launched the highly anticipated—and slightly less radioactive—iPhone 15 varieties mere days ago.

The iPhone 15 and it’s three other variations (the plus, pro and pro max), have passed all the required radiation tests and their rollout should proceed uninhibited. Although, a previous product being banned for potential health and safety risks is anything but a timely marketing move.

Taken | 20th Century Studios


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