Apple Rolls Out iOS 17.1 Update to Address iPhone 12 Radiation Concerns in France

iPhone 12 Radiation (Pinterest/

iPhone 12 Radiation (Pinterest/

Apple is set to release an update, iOS 17.1, this October to address concerns regarding radiation levels in the iPhone 12, specifically for users in France. The move comes in response to pressure from France, which banned the sale of the iPhone 12, alleging that the radiation levels surpassed European thresholds.

Despite these concerns, Apple maintains that the iPhone 12 is safe for use, seemingly contradicting the notion of excessive radiation. To address France’s concerns, the tech giant will disable a feature that strengthens the phone signal when it is not in direct contact with the user’s body.

Previously, this feature was employed by Apple and other phone manufacturers to enhance signal strength when the phone is not held or stored in pockets, like when placed on a table. The upcoming iOS 17.1 update will exclusively deactivate this feature in France. Following this update, the iPhone 12 will limit its energy emissions even when stationary, like sitting on a desk. This may lead to a minor reduction in the phone’s efficiency, particularly in terms of cell signal reception. Nonetheless, Apple has stated that the majority of users are unlikely to experience any major effects.

According to Apple, iPhones, including the iPhone 12, have sensors to determine whether the device is placed on a static surface like a table or is being held or pocketed. Present in every iPhone model for the past ten years, this sensor plays a crucial role. It enables the iPhone to determine the right moments to increase its energy output for enhanced performance efficiency. However, this practice was not taken into account by the French radio frequency regulatory body (ANFR) during their cellular radiation tests.

As per ANFR’s findings, the iPhone 12 adheres to the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) standards, which measure the rate of electromagnetic energy absorption by the user’s body, even when the device is not held or pocketed. The protocol used by ANFR didn’t account for the sensor which caused higher energy transmission. However, Apple stands by its tested and internationally approved mechanism to comply with SAR requirements, emphasizing that slightly higher energy levels when the phone is placed on a table don’t impact SAR compliance.

The iPhone 12’s radiation saga began in September 2023 when ANFR tested hundreds of phones, including the iPhone 12. The tests revealed that the electromagnetic waves emitted by the iPhone 12 were potentially higher than advisable levels, increasing absorption risks. The iPhone 12 registered a SAR of 5.74 watts per kilogram when held or pocketed. In another test scenario, with a 5 cm distance from the human body, the SAR value was 2.0 watts per kilogram. Europe sets a SAR limit of 4.0 watts per kilogram, meaning the iPhone 12 exceeded European limits based on handheld or pocketed simulations.

Following these findings, ANFR ordered Apple to cease iPhone 12 sales in France from September 12. For devices already sold, ANFR urged Apple to take immediate action to prevent further ramifications.

Apple’s iOS 17.1 update targeting iPhone 12 radiation concerns will roll out this month, though a specific release date is yet to be confirmed.

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