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The French ban could have extended to all 27 EU countries after three months if Apple had refused to issue updates. Representative photo: iStock

Apple agrees to update iPhone 12 in France after regulators flag high radiation level

Apple says iPhone 12 is safe and the problem raised by the French government agency that manages wireless communications frequencies is “related to a specific testing protocol”

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Apple has agreed to install updates for the iPhone 12 in France after French regulators ordered the company to stop selling the model because it emits electromagnetic radiation levels that exceed European Union standards.

After the French ban, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany raised red flags on the level of electromagnetic radiation allegedly emitted by iPhone 12.

Apple, which recently unveiled the iPhone 15, insists the 12 model is safe and the phones have been certified in countries around the world since its introduction in 2020. It says the problem raised by the French government agency that manages wireless communications frequencies is “related to a specific testing protocol.”

The French agency said the iPhone 12 recently failed one of two types of tests for electromagnetic waves capable of being absorbed by the body. On Tuesday, France's government ordered a halt to sales of the iPhone 12 and told Apple to issue a software update to address the problem or face a recall.

In a statement issued on Friday, Apple said it “will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators.” It did not elaborate further on the matter.

The French ban could have extended to all 27 EU countries after three months if Apple had refused to issue updates and if no other government objected, European Commission spokesperson Sonya Gospodinova said Thursday.

France’s digital affairs minister said the iPhone 12's radiation levels are still much lower than what scientific studies consider potentially harmful to users, and the radiation agency acknowledged that its tests don't reflect typical phone use.

Cellphones have been labeled as possible carcinogens by the World Health Organization's cancer research arm, putting them in the same category as coffee, diesel fumes and the pesticide DDT. The radiation produced by cellphones cannot directly damage DNA and is different from stronger types of radiation like X-rays or ultraviolet light.

Experts have recommended that people concerned about their cellphone radiation exposure use earphones or switch to texting.

(With inputs from agencies)


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