Apple faced a sales ban for its iPhone 12 in France due to the device’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) exceeding the permissible limit. France’s National Frequency Agency (ANFR) asserted that this model emitted electromagnetic waves above the approved threshold, leading to an immediate halt in sales.
ANFR conducted SAR tests on 141 phones, including the iPhone 12, which, when placed in a pocket, emitted 5.74 watts per kilogram. This exceeded the EU SAR standard of 4.0 watts per kilogram. However, the iPhone met the requirements in a second test, where it was positioned 5 mm away from the human body, with a limit of 2.0 W/kg.
ANFR’s statement emphasized that Apple must promptly employ “all available means” to address this issue, or it may face a recall of all sold units in France. According to Jean-Noel Barrot, France’s junior minister for digital economy, Apple can potentially resolve this through a software update, expected within two weeks.
SAR values are subject to safety limits established by the European Union to safeguard users from potential health risks, including cancer, as suggested by certain scientific studies. Barrot stated that ANFR’s findings would be shared with regulatory bodies in other EU member states.
While this incident could have a cascading impact on Apple and its iPhone 12, given the substantial sales volume since its September 2020 launch, the fact that the iPhone 12 series has been discontinued with the introduction of the iPhone 15 suggests that the repercussions on Apple’s sales are unlikely to be significant.