Apple bows to pressure from France with iPhone 12 software update

Apple will issue a software update for the iPhone 12 after several European countries indicated they could follow France in taking action over allegations of elevated radiation emissions.

The update could end a spat that had put regulators in EU members including Belgium, Germany and Italy on alert after ANFR, France’s national frequency agency, on Tuesday ordered Apple to stop selling the 2020 iPhone 12 model in stores and online.

“We will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators,” Apple said in a statement on Friday.

“This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern,” the company added. “Since it was introduced in 2020, iPhone 12 has been certified and recognised as meeting or exceeding all applicable SAR regulations and standards around the world.”

Apple had disputed the findings of the French agency, saying the three-year-old model had been certified by global bodies and found compliant. It added that it had worked closely with the French agency to provide it with information for its testing procedures over recent months as well as on compliance from independent labs.

Jean-Noël Barrot, France’s junior minister for digital affairs, welcomed Apple’s decision after he had given the company a 15-day deadline to make changes. “Since the decision to withdraw the iPhone 12 from the French market, I have spoken several times with the Apple teams,” he said.

“ANFR is preparing to quickly test this update which would ultimately make the model compliant with European standards applied in France and lift the withdrawal from marketing,” Barrot added.

On Thursday, Belgium said it would follow France in reviewing any health risks linked to the iPhone 12, while the German regulator said it would watch to see how the French situation developed, according to Reuters.

Apple is in the process of phasing out sales of the iPhone 12 in favour of newer models, including the iPhone 15 which it launched this week.

ANFR regularly purchases and tests iPhones sold across France to check for conformity with EU standards. Once its experts discovered the anomalies, it informed Apple and asked it to make changes but was rebuffed. It subsequently opened the enforcement action.

Smartphones emit low levels of radiation when in use. The World Health Organization has said: “To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.” – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.