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Software Tweaks to Fight Radiation: Apple to push OTA to EU iPhones after getting banned by France

Apple has announced that it will release a new software update for the iPhone 12 in France in response to French authorities’ suspension of its sales. The company made this statement on Friday, expressing its commitment to addressing the concerns raised by French regulators.

In their statement to Euronews Next, Apple stated, “We will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators. We look forward to iPhone 12 continuing to be available in France.”

The decision to suspend sales of the iPhone 12 in France was made by France’s National Frequency Agency (ANFR) earlier in the week. ANFR had cited excessive electromagnetic radiation emissions during recent testing as the reason for their action. Apple’s forthcoming software update aims to align the iPhone 12 with the regulatory requirements in France, allowing it to be sold and used in compliance with local standards.

The ANFR has issued an order to Apple, instructing the company to take prompt action to rectify the identified malfunction related to excessive electromagnetic radiation emissions. They have clarified that Apple must utilize all possible measures to address this issue swiftly. Failure to do so could result in the French government initiating a recall of the iPhone 12 devices already sold in France.

ANFR, which oversees public exposure to electromagnetic waves, noted that during their testing, the specific absorption rate (SAR) of the iPhone 12 exceeded the authorized limit. SAR is a metric used to measure the rate at which the human body absorbs radiofrequency energy. The agency’s findings raise concerns about potential health risks associated with the device’s electromagnetic radiation emissions, prompting regulatory action and demand for a remedy from Apple.

In response to the situation, Apple clarified in a statement provided to Euronews Next on Friday that the issue is specifically related to a testing protocol used by French regulators and is not indicative of a safety concern. The company emphasized that since its introduction in 2020, the iPhone 12 has consistently been certified and recognized as meeting or surpassing all applicable Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) regulations and standards globally.

France’s junior minister in charge of digital, Jean-Noël Barrot, shared that he has communicated with Apple’s teams since the decision to withdraw the iPhone 12 from the French market was made. Following discussions and in response to the demands of the French National Frequency Agency (ANFR), Apple has assured Barrot that it will release a software update for the iPhone 12 in the coming days.

Barrot further noted that the ANFR is ready to promptly test this software update to ensure that it brings the model into compliance with European standards applied in France. Once this is confirmed, the marketing withdrawal of the iPhone 12 in France is expected to be lifted. This action reflects the cooperative efforts between Apple and French authorities to address the regulatory concerns and allow the iPhone 12 to continue being available in the French market.

The European Commission told Euronews Next that, by the EU directive on radio equipment, a suspension of iPhone 12 sales in France could potentially lead to a ban on its sales across the European Union.

It’s worth noting that the iPhone 12 was initially launched by Apple in 2020, and the company recently unveiled the iPhone 15 series.

The latest iPhone iteration incorporates a USB-C charger, aligning with a law passed by European lawmakers that mandates a single charging standard for all electronic devices in the European Union. This move aims to reduce electronic waste and improve compatibility among various devices, enhancing the overall user experience while promoting sustainability.

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