HomeTechnologyApple moves to defuse French iPhone 12 controversy over EU investigation

Apple on Friday promised to update software on iPhone 12s in France to settle a dispute over radiation levels, but concerns in other European countries suggested it may have to take similar action elsewhere.

France suspended sales of iPhone 12 handsets this week after testing said it found a violation of radiation exposure limits.

Apple disputed the findings, saying the iPhone 12 was certified as conforming to global standards by multiple international bodies, but said Friday it would issue a software update to adjust the testing methods used in France.

Researchers have conducted a large number of studies over the past two decades to assess the health risks of mobile phones. According to the World Health Organization, these have not caused any adverse health effects.

But the radiation warning in France, which is based on results that differ from tests conducted in other countries, has sparked concern across Europe.

Belgium’s state secretary for digitalization said he had asked Apple to upgrade the iPhone 12 software in EU countries, though he said there is no risk to handset users based on the Belgian regulator’s own preliminary review. .

Germany said it was in contact with French officials to find an EU-wide solution, according to a government source in Rome, while Italy was about to ask Apple to upgrade the software on the iPhone 12s.

However, any request or separate decision from Apple by Italian authorities would only come after the end of the French investigation, a second Italian government source said.

The Dutch authority for digital infrastructure said it is also closing its investigation in two weeks and is in contact with Apple as well as German and French authorities. The agency said it has received calls from concerned consumers.

The French government welcomed Apple’s software update, saying it would be tested faster and should be allowed to resume sales of relatively older iPhone 12 models launched in 2020.

“We will release a software update to users in France to accommodate the protocols used by French regulators. We expect the iPhone 12 to remain available in France,” Apple said in a statement.

“This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and is not a safety concern,” it said.

Apple regularly provides software updates for its phones and computers, mostly to fix security issues. These may be focused on a particular model or region and sometimes Apple releases such updates several times a month.

body test

France’s Agence Nationale des Frequencies (ANFR) said on Tuesday that the iPhone 12’s specific absorption rate (SAR) – a measurement of the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the body from a piece of equipment – ​​was higher than legally allowed, causing sales. Was suspended. ,

Changes to French rules in 2020 allowed SAR testing for limbs – including holding a phone in hand – as well as for the head and body, used elsewhere. In the French body SAR tests, which the iPhone 12 failed, it is measured at a distance of 0 mm, compared to a distance of 5 mm for body tests.

Belgian Digitalization Minister Mathieu Michel said in a statement on Friday that while the phone is still under review by the country’s IBPT regulator, first results were “reassuring” and there was no need to recall the phone. Belgium.

Nevertheless, he said he had contacted Apple and asked it to “review its software updates in the same manner across Europe.”

Denmark also reassured phone owners, saying its safety authority would not take action following France’s findings and that it had no concerns about radiation levels from iPhone 12 use.

“Based on the available information, the Danish Health Authority assesses that you can continue to use your iPhone 12 without any concerns,” it said in an emailed statement.

Industry experts said there was no safety risk because regulatory limits based on the risk of burns or heatstroke from the phone’s radiation were set well below levels where scientists have found evidence of harm.

“Ultimately I suspect the entire incident will be forgotten quickly,” said Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight. He highlighted that the iPhone 12 is an older model.

Apple launched the iPhone 15 on Tuesday and the iPhone 12 is not available for purchase directly from Apple. However, it can be purchased from third parties that have inventory or trade in old phones.

A bigger issue would have been a potential recall, which France threatened if Apple refused to update the software.

Apple’s revenue in Europe last year was nearly $95 billion, making the region its second-largest after the US. Some estimates say it sold more than 50 million iPhones in Europe last year.

The American company does not divide its sales by country or model.

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