Last week Apple debuted its new iPhone 15 models. Besides the news with respect to the new models, Apple appeared in the media yet again last week when the French watchdog ordered a halt to the sales of the iPhone 12. In two articles, we will explain the current situation around the iPhone 12 and the consequences if a recall would occur. This article focuses on the reason for the French watchdog to halt sales of the iPhone 12 in France and the consequential tendency of other European authorities to further investigate the iPhone 12 as well. Information about and the consequences of a potential recall will be discussed in our next newsflash which will be available very soon.
Apple defends its iPhone 12 model after a French watchdog ordered a halt to its sales citing breaches of European Union radiation exposure limits. The decision increases the possibility of other bans across Europe. The French watchdog, the Agence Nationale des Fréquences (“ANFR”), said it would sent agents to Apple stores and distributors to make sure the model is no longer being sold adding that a failure to act would result in a recall of the iPhone 12 already sold to customers. Apple contests the ANFR’s findings stipulating in a statement that the iPhones comply with the European radiation exposure limits.
ANFR test results show that the Specific Absorption Rate – a gauge of the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the human body from a piece of equipment – was higher than legally allowed on the basis of European standards.
Based on the ANFR test results, the Dutch watchdog, the Nederlandse Rijksinspectie Digitale Infrastructuur (“RDI”) has initiated an investigation into the report of the French watchdog stipulating that Apple’s iPhone 12 model breaches European radiation exposure limits. Although the RDI mentioned that there is no acute safety or health risk, RDI will discuss the failure to meet the radiation exposure limits with Apple on a short notice. Competent authorities in Spain, Germany and Belgium have launched similar proceedings against Apple.
Apple has stated that the iPhone 12 has been certified by multiple international bodies as being compliant with global radiation, including European, standards. Moreover, Apple has offered several test results, both from Apple and third-parties, that would prove the phone’s compliance with the European standards and that it was contesting ANFR’s findings.
If the European watchdogs proceed with their investigations, Apple is facing a potential recall of the iPhone 12. The ANFR already ordered Apple “to implement all means to quickly remedy the malfunction” or the company will have to recall the iPhones already sold in France. ANFR agents will verify that the iPhone 12 is no longer sold in France. Several French telecommunication stores have pulled the iPhone 12 from their online sales since last Wednesday. Nevertheless, Apple contests the French report and disagrees with its finding that the smartphone exceeds radio frequency exposure limits by the nation’s regulator. At the same time and according to the latest developments, Apple has the intention to introduce a system update on the basis of which the radiation exposure limits are not exceeded.