Why did France ban iPhone 12?

Why did France ban iPhone 12?
Why did France ban iPhone 12?

In a surprising move that sent shockwaves through the tech industry, France ban iPhone 12, series in 2023. The ban was based on claims by France’s National Frequency Agency (ANFR) that the iPhone 12 emitted excessive levels of electromagnetic radiation, surpassing European Union standards. However, this decision has not been without its share of debate, with Apple vehemently disputing the allegations. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind France’s ban on the iPhone 12 and its potential implications.

Why did France ban iPhone 12?

At the heart of France’s decision to ban the iPhone 12 lies the concern over electromagnetic radiation exposure. The specific absorption rate (SAR), which measures the radiofrequency energy absorbed by the human body, was found to exceed European Union standards when tested by ANFR. European regulations dictate that phones intended for handheld use or storage in a pants pocket should not exceed 4 watts per kilogram of electromagnetic energy absorption. The iPhone 12, however, recorded a SAR value of 5.74 watts per kilogram, exceeding the limit by over 40%. It’s worth noting that the phone met the radiation threshold when placed in a jacket pocket or bag.

While these findings may raise alarm, it’s important to emphasize that the iPhone 12’s radiation levels were only slightly above the allowable threshold. The levels detected were more than ten times lower than the point at which they could pose a significant health risk, as clarified by France’s digital minister, Jean-Noel Barrot. Nevertheless, France was adamant about upholding its standards, pushing for Apple’s compliance.

The ‘Snowball Effect’ and EU Regulatory Impact

France’s decision to ban the iPhone 12 has potentially significant consequences for Apple and the broader smartphone industry. Jean-Noel Barrot, the French digital minister, indicated that the data gathered by ANFR would be shared with other European Union member states, potentially leading to a “snowball effect.” This suggests that other EU countries may follow France’s lead and take similar actions against Apple or other smartphone manufacturers if they find non-compliance with their radiation standards.

Apple, on its part, has defended its product rigorously. The tech giant claims that the iPhone 12 has been certified by multiple international bodies and has provided both internal and third-party lab results demonstrating compliance with France’s standards. The company insists that its devices are safe for consumers.

Health Concerns and Scientific Perspective

The World Health Organization has stated that, to date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use. In 2011, the organization classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” a classification reserved for agents with limited or inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. However, it’s crucial to note that research has not definitively linked mobile phone use to cancer or other serious health issues. The levels of radiofrequency radiation emitted by mobile phones are considered too low to damage DNA, according to the National Cancer Institute.


The ban on the iPhone 12 in France in 2023 serves as a reminder of the ongoing debate surrounding electromagnetic radiation exposure from mobile devices. France’s stringent stance on radiation standards led to this decision, raising questions about the potential impact on the tech industry and the broader European regulatory landscape. While the iPhone 12’s radiation levels were marginally above the allowable limit and posed no immediate health risk, France remains committed to upholding its standards. As the situation unfolds, it will be interesting to see how Apple responds and whether other European nations follow suit in their scrutiny of smartphone radiation emissions.

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