Apple issues iPhone 12 software update in France over radiation concerns | Science & Tech News

Apple has said it plans to update the iPhone 12’s software after France halted sales of the model over fears about excessive radiation levels.

Jean-Noel Barrot, a junior minister in the French government, told Le Parisien last month a radiation watchdog found the device’s “specific absorption rate” was slightly higher than the legal limit.

This refers to the rate at which the human body absorbs energy when exposed to radio frequency.

Apple has disputed the findings – and said the phone is safe to use even without any changes.

But on Tuesday it said it plans to comply with France’s radiation testing requirements by rolling out an update stopping the model from using more power when in contact with static surfaces.

In an article posted on its website, Apple said for more than a decade, iPhones have included sensors which allow the phone to detect when it is near a user’s body to keep transmission power at lower levels.

When the phone is not near a body – such as when it is laid on a table – the device uses slightly higher levels of transmission power.

Apple said the testing protocol used by L’Agence Nationale des Frequences did not take this feature into account.

“We want all iPhone 12 users to know that iPhone 12 is safe to use and always has been,” the firm said in a statement.

“iPhone 12 was certified to meet applicable worldwide energy transmission regulations and standards when it first shipped in 2020 and no changes have been made since then that would affect energy transmission.”

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Nonetheless, the company has issued a software update that turns off the body-detection technology, keeping the phone at lower transmission power levels at all times.

This update will become broadly available to users in France this month.