back to article Apple's iPhone 12 woes spread as Belgium, Germany, Netherlands weigh in

Apple's woes over the iPhone 12's electromagnetic waves do not seem to be going away, with more EU countries intending to take another look at the handset following France's decision to halt sales earlier this week. The US tech titan yesterday told The Register it rejected claims in France that the phone model breaches …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ..."

    so much so that it's hard not to wonder if there are dodgy deals afoot.

    I'd hope so. The irony would probably solve the world energy crisis forever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ..."

      About 3 years too late as well.

      Sounds like the same headless chicken Hysteria as surrounded Astra Zeneca’s COVID Jab.

      1. NerryTutkins

        Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ..."

        There was no hysteria, the safety concerns with the AZ jab were well-founded, despite the UK's initial chest-thumping brexity attacks on the various EU health bodies that first raised concerns.

        The UK also removed the AZ jab as an option for younger recipients, and then conducted all its booster campaigns with mRNA vaccines such as the Biontech/Pfizer jab. The UK essentially accepted the risks and moved to safer vaccines, though this caused delays in the UK vaccination programme. It may have had a better chance of getting more supplies of the Biontech jab, had it not selfishly acted to block AZ vaccine shipments to the EU early on via a preference contract, which later backfired spectacularly having burned all goodwill with the EU when it need their vaccine.

        The AZ vaccine most definitely saved many more lives than it may have cost, because it was primarily given initially to the most at-risk groups, in particular the elderly. The UK rightly accepted (but tried to downplay) the safety risks of the AZ vaccine, in particular for younger recipients, and moved over to the Biontech jab primarily, which had proved safer overall once there was significant data available from mass vaccinations.

        This is how science should work. It is sad that UK politicians in particular exploited vaccination as a political benefit of brexit, which made them reluctant to adjust strategy when the risks of the AZ vaccine emerged and also poisoned the well when it needed EU vaccines to complete its own programme.

        1. JohnMurray

          Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ..."

          13.6 per million cases of thrombosis in vaccinated persons compared to 35.3 per million cases of thrombosis in persons infected with sars-cov-1 virus

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ..."

            > 13.6 per million cases of thrombosis in vaccinated persons compared to 35.3 per million cases of thrombosis in persons infected with sars-cov-1 virus

            Indeed. And that is after taking into consideration those who died of Covid infections before thrombosis became a problem.

        2. Justthefacts Silver badge

          Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ...

          Everything you say is true (that AZ was risky, that risk was v low and accepted, it saved huge numbers of lives, but when something of even lower risk comes along of course you take it).

          But your conclusion is false: “ vaccination as a political benefit of brexit”. Vaccination *was* a political benefit of Brexit. Brexit *directly* saved a couple hundred thousand lives in the U.K., for several reasons you have already partly outlined.

          #1 The disparity between U.K. and EU rollout of AZ and BioNTech was neither random dice, nor political football. With AZ vaccine, the U.K. government went into the initial negotiation (remember six months before anyone knew if it might work or not) with the brief “this might save U.K. lives, as elected politicians we must not be held responsible for the smallest delay of getting this to our citizens, this deal must be done, now, whatever the cost. Pay for expanded capacity if needed”. The EU negotiator went into the negotiation with the brief “ensure you get a good financial deal for EU citizens. And ensure that any expanded capacity is on EU sovereign soil.”

          The consequences were *exactly* as one would expect: Commission arguing over the price delayed EU signing by three months…..and therefore delayed EU access to final vaccine capacity by three months. How could it be reasonable otherwise? The point is, no *elected* politician could possibly have prioritised cost over speed at barely 20 euros per person. This isn’t about being British, Macron would not have done this, nor would Merkel, nor any other country Prime Minister. No directly elected government would ever have made such a catastrophic error of judgement.

          #2 Commission insisted on factory on Belgian soil. AZ doesn’t *have* such a factory, and still doesn’t. AZ did a tech transfer to Belgian company, with full support, at EU only request This is not the best engineering solution. *Of course* standing up a new non-vaccine factory to make vaccines with inexperienced staff, was going to take an extra four months. Four months delay is blisteringly fast actually. It’s a tribute to all the people directly responsible that it happened. But that four months delay was there *because the EU negotiator asked for it*, and no other reason. The EU *could* have agreed to simply double funding at the existing U.K. plants, in September 2020, as AZ had suggested, but the EU refused that.

          This was a catastrophic error of judgement. Do you honestly think Merkel would have done this? “Build it on EU soil, or we won’t buy your life-saving vaccine”? It’s mental. Totally mental. Only a career bureaucrat could think that was a hill worth dying on.

          #3 When the delay at AZ Belgian subcontractor became apparent, AZ proposed a valid solution. They proposed to ship vaccines from their *Indian* subcontractor. EU simply refused to accept vaccines made at the India plant. It’s difficult to see this as anything other than pure racism. The Commission literally wrote, in black and white, that they couldn’t accept vaccines from a plant that they hadn’t assessed the cleanliness of. Despite the facts that: a) India is actually the largest producer of vaccines in the world and has a lot of experience b) The EU did *not* inspect either the Belgium plant, nor the U.K. plant they said they wanted it from c) The EU has no technical competence in medicines manufacture inspection. This was pure racism, and cost a lot of European lives by delay. We can debate the ethics as to whether they should have wanted to take vaccines away from Indian people anyway, but that wasn’t their declared reason. The declared reason was that Indians were unhygienic. You cannot get away from that fact.

          #4 The European Medicines Agency took the “precautionary principle”. This added another two month delay to the EU rollout. This is a very European *attitude*. It’s embedded throughout European culture, which is fundamentally bureaucratic. And sometimes it’s valid and good. This was not such a time. Brexit gave the U.K. the freedom to decide when the lives of our citizens were worth more than an arse-covering precautionary principle, and *we took it*.

          The net-out of the European Commissions failings was *over half a million European extra dead*. Compared to well under a hundred UK dead due to cardiovascular issues in the under-thirties. The U.K. government has its own failings, relating to care homes and PPE that cost our extra hundred thousand dead, we cannot hide from that. But the Commission directly caused a vaccine catastrophe in EU that cannot be hidden.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ...

            The EMA finding's had nothing to do with the "precautionary principle". They laid out their findings and some EU states decided to stop the AZ roll-out and switch to other vaccines because they had the option to do that.

            Then shortly afterwards the UK's rollout slowed because India had a sudden rise in cases and stopped supplying the UK and as all the UK's eggs were in AZ's basket they could not easily find supplies of other vaccines. As a consequence the UK's vaccination rate slowed down in comparison to other countries. So really when the EU commission specified the vaccine should be made inside the EU it was because they wanted control of the supply chain, it was not just "pure racism" or "totally mental" as you put it. They wanted to be self-sufficient knowing that supplies from outside the bloc could be diverted away from the EU for reasons outside their control. The UK on the other hand had to re-do their vaccination strategy.

            1. jabuzz

              Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ...

              The problem with that thesis is that the Pfizer vaccine used essential ingredients sourced from the UK. Noting the UK never threatened the EU with law suites or blocking exports of critical components for the Pfizer vaccine.

              1. Anonymous Coward
          2. jabuzz

            Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ...

            The problem with that thesis is that health care is not an EU competency. The UK had it still been in the EU would have been in no way obliged to go with the EU COVID-19 vaccine program and could have done it's own thing. I would note that the EU also invited the UK to join it's COVID-19 vaccine program. So yes the UK program was better than the "EU" one, but it is *NOT* a Brexit benefit.

            1. Justthefacts Silver badge

              Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ...

              “Not obliged”?

              So, 27 out of 27 countries all realised they were “not obliged”, and just all happened to follow the same logic on what was clearly a difficult judgement call? You are deluded. They all had to follow Commission, because you have to do what the Capo says. The “or else” is never specified. It doesn’t have to be.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ..."

      Odd that a post actually supporting Apple gets so many downvotes. I guess it's true about AI and nuance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ..."

        All the nerdy devs prefer to tinker with Android and steer clear of iOS. And just because they can, they develop a superiority complex.

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    US regulations are a joke compared to EU ones. They are not meant to protect citizens but the business.

    The US tech titan yesterday told The Register it rejected claims in France that the phone model breaches permitted radiation standards

    Apple may rejected claims if it wants, but it is not Apple that will decide if the iPhone12 is legal in the EU27

    pointing out the iPhone 12 was certified as compliant by authorities around the world.

    It could have been compliant on Mars, doesn't give a damn, what matters is to follow the EU rules.

    Apple should avoid to play it contemptuous, that won't work well with European regulators (as long as they aren't Irish)

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Not the US

      Came here to say that. Why link to an irrelevant stardard? Why did Apple not have the phone certified in the EU prior to sale if it is such an important market? And... why are they allowed to sell a phone that has not been through the relevant tests? Unless, of course, companies do self-certify...

      1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

        Re: Not the US

        Self certification is perfecly legal under CE rules. But you’d better have deep pockets if regulators perform tests at a later date and find you’ve been fibbing!

    2. pdh

      So a question from the other side of the pond... I'm mildly surprised that individual nations are involved. I would have expected EU-wide regulations for things like this, rather than separate investigations and edicts from separate countries. Is this not an area that the EU regulates?

      1. keithpeter Silver badge

        My understanding (which may well be wrong) is that the EU member countries agree to adopt common standards, but the passing of laws and the enforcement of the standards is left to the governments of the member countries.

        PS: How do you measure this power per watt of bodyweight I wonder? I'm going to have to investigate...

        1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          "PS: How do you measure this power per watt of bodyweight I wonder? I'm going to have to investigate..."

          Going to take a guess here - the human body is mostly water, so they probably measure the phone's output, then put the phone into a cube with lead on 5 walls and water behind rigid mylar as the 6th wall, then measure the phone's output through the water. Said cube would need to be a kilogram of water, mylar window on 1 side, lead walls on 4 sides, then the last wall lead with a sensor sized mylar window. Lead will not allow radiation to escape, mylar appears invisible to radio waves and is used on satellite antennas to keep water out of the waveguide. Measurement A minus measurement B equals the absorbed power.

          1. Nifty Silver badge

            If the phone isn't receiving any signal it's likely to only be emitting a polling signal for a short burst every 15 seconds or so, so as to be assigned a cell tower. Once a call begins or data starts being transferred between the phone and a cell tower, that's when the radiation starts continuously. The radiation level will depend on the strength of signal/distance from the tower. It'll further depend on whether 3g, 4g, 5g or even WiFi is the transmission method. Finally the radiation level could be directional, depending on the antenna design.

            Testing this to pass EU regs, and then France's special interpretation will IMO be a very variable matter.

            This smells of some sort of politically motivated move by France.

            1. bpfh

              Someone wants a recall.

              I would not complain. I have a 12 and a 12 mini. Reimburse me or give me a 15. Or a 15 pro max for both.

              Legal recalls also don't normally require proof of purchase either....

              On the other hand if someone has found that the hardware does not meet the standard, I would expect this result to be very very well documented before the National Radio Frequency Agency starts making public declarations...

              1. Thought About IT

                Re: Someone wants a recall.

                Does this apply to the 12 mini as well? (Asking for a friend.)

            2. bpfh

              I Just read the press release

              Over 100 telephones were tested for absorption rates, and the iPhone blew over the limits.

              There are 2 limits: one for direct body contact (held in hand) of 4W/kg the other for proximity to body of 2W/kg. The iPhone was measured at 5.74W/kg for body contact. This is the application of EU law. If one country has found an infraction then this will get the other EU country certification bodies to take notice...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I Just read the press release

                Ah, but a software update will allow it to pass the certification tests.

                Just like how software allowed Volkswagens to pass their emissions tests.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              A political move. I've got to ask: why? What would be the point?

              Please don't just wave your hand vaguely in the direction of the illuminati.

              1. Nifty Silver badge

                Don't flatter the French.

        2. bpfh

          Testing explanation

          The ANFR has a video that explains the absorption rate - they French part) and the testing lab (in German). YouTube has auto translate subtitles which are more miss than hit:

      2. big_D Silver badge

        The EU (all nations togethr) sets the regulations, which have to be implemented into local laws in each country and testing and prosecution is each country's perogative.

      3. Richard 12 Silver badge

        EU rules, local enforcement

        Each country is responsible for enforcing the rules within its borders.

        The EU Commission and Parliament just put together regulations and vote on whether to accept them. Each member state is then responsible for enforcement, there's no EU-wide police force or anything like that.

        The regulations usually specify which state has jurisdiction when it's cross-border to avoid that wrangling. To some extent, anyway.

      4. Tron Silver badge

        Rendre sa grandeur à la France.

        quote: I'm mildly surprised that individual nations are involved.

        The French government consider the EU to be a side hustle of the Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères.

    3. SphericalCow

      US regulations are a joke compared to EU ones. They are not meant to protect citizens but the business.

      Well, the EU authorities have raised the alarm a full THREE years after the launch of an extremely popular consumer device, so I would say this sorry episode speaks volumes about their certification process. Horse, stable door, bolted springs to mind!

      Makes you concerned about what other products have slipped through the safety net or have simply not been tested at all.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        It's pretty much the same certification process used in most countries. A set of rules and regulations that the manufacturer must adhere to, but they self-certify in most cases and there's simply far too many products on the market such that it would be impossible and counter-productive to have everything tested before being allowed to market. Mostly, it's spot checks on items that may be coming from markets with known low standards, eg checking for sharp or detachable parts or lead based paints on kids toys, or basic electrical safety checks, but again, mainly spot checks on wholesale imports. Most likely this incident has arisen because something took an interest, maybe a university student doing some related research, or a consumer review/safety/rights orgs was doing comparisons. Things like this crop up quite frequently because there is always someone trying to make bigger profits somewhere in the world, but this being Apple, it's headline news because they are both huge and have a reputation for quality. Like Boeing used to be :-)

      2. NXM Silver badge


        One source of official action against non-compliance in self-certified goods comes from competitors who may be peeved by another company getting away with breaking the rules and gaining an advantage. In this case Apple may claim better radio performance in weak signal areas. And if an iPhone 12 transgresses, later ones might do too.

        Mobiles vary their power output depending on received signal gain, so a software fix isn't a problem. Bad publicity is.

    4. GreggS

      "To be clear, however, the iPhone 12 was approved by the FCC before sale"

      Yeah and the FAA approved the Boeing 737 MAX and the FDA, Oxycontin.

      1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        "To be clear, however, the iPhone 12 was approved by the FCC before sale"

        The relevant regulations are different in the USA and the EU. It is perfectly possible for the same device to meet regulatory standards in one jurisdiction and fail in another. Other examples are chlorine-washed chicken, and cheese made from unpasteurised milk.

    5. Justthefacts Silver badge

      TLDR; phantom issue

      The US regulation is tighter than the EU, significantly so. Not just that the limit is lower (1.6 US FCC versus 2.0).

      But also that the US measures their limit on the worst case 1 gram of simulated tissue (roughly 1cm) whereas the EU averages over the worst case 10gram of simulated tissue (roughly 2.3cm). The radiation pattern is very hotspotty on that scale, the US definition is much more stringent than the EU definition.

      If it’s failing the EU test, it would fail the US test, which it hasn’t because they will have tested.

      What’s much more likely, is that the SAR varies on frequency band, due to frequency-dependence of conductivity of human body. Frequency bands up to 3.8GHz are defined by 3GPP (and supported by iPhone) but not *licensed* in particular territories, and therefore not used.

      I strongly suspect the violation is limited to a high bands that is defined but not actually used. I suspect that France certify on the basis of the device *capability* - phone can do it if the operator mast requested, even if there are legally no operators licensed in that band. Whereas the US, UK, most territories, certify on the basis of only the bands licensed in this country.

      That would mean, the French and Dutch tests “fail”, others “pass”, even though the phone never transmits on those bands when used by customers. This makes sense of another weird fact: that Apple claim they can fix this with a trivial software update. This would be impossible if it is determined by physics and antenna placement. You can’t just turn the transmission power down, because being able to transmit at maximum power +23dBm is part of the 3GPP conformance tests for 4G.

      But what you *can* do is just disable the phone capability in the higher band, with a single line in a config file. Since there aren’t actually any operators licensed in that band, it doesn’t affect customers. I think this is a box-ticking non-issue, has never caused any excessive power transmission in actual use, and is trivially fixable.

      1. sten2012 Bronze badge

        Re: TLDR; phantom issue

        Since there aren’t actually any operators licensed in that band

        What about unlicensed? If we define that range to be dangerous, then someone not holding the device shouldn't be able to coerce the phone into behaving that way through malicious equipment either.*

        I'd still say it's valid if not necessarily a widespread issue.

        Though personally I also think the hardware should be preventing transmission over these dangerous (albeit arbitrary and probably very safe..) thresholds too for similar reasons and potential buggy states never seen in a lab test. Back in the day I had it drummed into my head that you can't (not shouldn't, can't) have software safety interlock systems in the first place.

        *Although if you wanted to choose someone with "unsafe" levels of radiation your malicious radiation emitter is probably quicker and easier place to exploit this than transmitting low levels and expecting the victims phone to do it for you..

        Also I keep putting dangerous and unsafe in quotes as if I know what levels are safe and that regulations are extremely conservative. That's an assumption on my part and I've never checked.

        1. Justthefacts Silver badge

          Re: TLDR; phantom issue

          I agree with that. Also, you can hardly quote “Band X support”, if you know that any jurisdiction in the world where band X gets licensed in future, the SAR would fail. That’s a failure of thinking. But anyway, with compliance “Rules is Rules”, and the protocol was known. Apple’s compliance team should have figured this out anyway years ago when it was released, and done it then.

          What I don’t quite understand is how this got blown up, and which side is responsible for the blow-up. Did France’s regulator go nuclear, without bother to check first whether Apple were happy to fix? Because clearly Apple were capable of doing it, quickly, with no great problem. This should have been handled at purely technical level, without escalation beyond responsible engineering teams. Or were Apple pointlessly stubborn when contacted, and had to be threatened to get them to take it seriously? Who knows. But I do reckon this is likely to just go away.

          If I’m wrong about the cause, Apple are totally screwed because it will fail in the US too, and then all hell will break loose. But also, if it has genuinely been emitting over-SAR for customers, then basically every iPhone 12 customer who gets cancer will sue and win, because Apple can’t prove it wasn’t, even if it wasn’t.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: TLDR; phantom issue

            Your posts are pure whataboutism. As you repeat the same nonsense, I will repeat the same reply:

            The ANFR found the iPhone 12 is spewing out 5.74 w/kg instead of under 4 w/kg when in close contact with a person's body, e.g. a trouser pocket, here:

            The ANFR requires the SAR of devices to be checked against two different ways a phone is used.

            First there is a "membre" - or limb - check, for when a phone is in close contact with a person's body, such as when it is held or placed in a trouser pocket. The SAR limit for this is four watts per kilogram.

            The regulator said the device's "membre" SAR was 5.74 watts per kilogram - higher than the limit.

            You might find it acceptable for Tim Apple's phones to microwave your bollocks, but the French regulator doesn't and they know how to test SAR levels in their own country, unlike Apple it seems.

  3. big_D Silver badge

    I'm calling BS...

    The US tech titan yesterday told The Register

    Everybody knows that Apple never talks to you guys! :D

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I'm calling BS...

      ...and if they did, it must mean the Apple press office was in such a tizz sending out denials they forgot to run the requests through the blacklist checker :-)

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the iPhone 12 was approved by the FCC before sale"

    The FCC approves iPhone 12, the FAA approves the 737 Max, it's becoming clear that certification agencies in the US need a serious revamp.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: "the iPhone 12 was approved by the FCC before sale"

      The FCC don't test it, though. Any more than the EU does.

      FCC is a paper exercise, you fill out the forms, sign the dotted line and you're good to go.

      They can do spot checks if they feel the need, but you you really think they'll do that for products sold by a company the size of Apple?

      It's now pretty clear that Apple did exceed the limits, and nobody noticed because nobody tested them.

      Most likely this came about because someone noticed a strange result while testing something else, and tracked it down to the phone in their pocket.

  5. Frank Bitterlich

    Standing by for...

    ... Apple changing the baseband software to reduce radiation, and then getting sued for bad signal quality...

  6. david 12 Silver badge

    Follow the money

    Who triggered this investigation? That's a human interest and commercial warfare story that would be fun to read.

    You get your stuff tested by a certified tester, you submit/hold/certify the test results, you sell the product. Governments don't go around randomly testing devices for compliance: they don't even have that capability.

    Somebody must have made the allegation that the device was not in compliance: somebody must have been investigating compliance or doing design comparisons.

    Standards are primarily created by commercial interests, so it's never surprising to see attempts at evasion and enforcement: enforcement is triggered by commercial interests or by commercially funded "astroturf" grass-roots campaigns.

    Apple has "woes", but somewhere, somebody is celebrating.

    1. esque

      Re: Follow the money

      > Who triggered this investigation?

      What does it matter? It only matters if the products Apple sells are compliant with the relevant regulations or not.

      1. Bill Gray

        Re: Follow the money

        > What does it matter?

        In a sense, you're right, but I'd still be curious. Manufacturers often self-certify, so they have the relevant testing gear around and it mostly sits unused until you release your next product. I could imagine somebody checking out what the competition's phones do.

        If so, I'd see it as a good thing. It doesn't seem government agencies can keep up with the testing, and self-certification is apt to be iffy if nobody checks your work.

    2. Screepy

      Re: Follow the money

      It's frequently not as nefarious as that.

      As someone posted in another thread, a surprising amount of these 'finds' are university students doing some research.They get a batch of unexpected results and things snowball from there..

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Follow the money

        It's frequently not as nefarious as that.

        Sure it is. The drug dealers discovered it. They'd designed their injectable nanobots based on the stated regulations and EMR, then discovered iPhones exceeded it and were EMP'ng the nanobots. This was obviously a serious situation, with potentially massive revenue implications given iShiney owners tend to be a) gullible and b) wealthy. It became more critical after governments appeared to be reluctant to offer 'free' updates this winter. However there may be some upside as the wealthy & gullible may be the most likely to pay for the update anyway.

        Meanwhile, damn the EU! This kind of news is exactly what the 'electrosensititves' and other mobile phone luddites wanted so they can say they're right, and mobiles are dangerous. Which is of course true, but also in a postively Darwinian sense given the number of people leaving the gene pool taking selfies or otherwise distracted.

        (Hmm.. wonder if I could make a conspiracy theory that 'proves' assorted fillers absorb this dangerous radiation, and might explode? Made the mistake of looking at the DM earlier, and people have a strange sense of beauty these days.)

    3. Pete Sdev

      Re: Follow the money

      "Governments don't go around randomly testing devices for compliance: they don't even have that capability."

      I think that statement is too blanket to always be true.

      For example, while independent, the German TüV works closely with the government, and does test a lot of things, for which they definitely have the capability.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: Follow the money

        The association is made up of commercial companies that test for money. They don't go around randomly testing devices: you have to pay real money to get testing done. The governments generally have no ability to test and no process for doing so: the regulations provide that you have to initiate and pay for your own testing. Once the allegations have been made, the enforcement arms of government have budget for testing, but it's not something that happens automatically.

        1. aks

          Re: Follow the money

          I see that as a good thing. Professional companies doing the testing rather than bureaucrats.

  7. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    I can see it now -

    "The phone that was tested was repaired by a third party repair shop and no longer meets Apple's rigorous standards of quality."

    No matter that third parties can't fix them yet.

    1. Snapper

      Re: I can see it now -

      Doesn't stop a LOT of small high-street repair shops trying.

      1. TimMaher Silver badge

        Re: repair shops.

        Naahhh. It’s the latest iFixit battery repair kit.

  8. Tuto2

    France and Europe are one and the same, there is a contradiction in the title... Try "Apple is worried about French or European findings on the lack of standards on emitted radiation or excess of radiation emissions on the Iphone"...

  9. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    It sounds as if the "5G is a conspiracy to read our minds" nutters have gained some traction with MEPs.

  10. ColonelClaw

    Hell of a coincidence that this news comes out on the day of a new model launch.

    I personally have an iPhone12 Mini. Ordinarily I'd be happy to keep using it for another 3 years at least, but now I somehow find myself browsing Apple's web site for a replacement.

  11. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    Testing is easy?

    This could, conceivably, not be down to Apple at all.

    The measuring equipment and testing chambers needed to determine if a device meets radio regulations are not cheap, and testing is a relatively specialised process, which means that it makes sense for a company to specialise in offering testing services. The company that does this gets rare expertise (which is marketable), and gets to use the test infrastructure all the time, rather than only when a new product is being developed. Only the largest companies will have their own facilities, and Apple might be one. Standards testing organisations are people like the TUV's, Element, Eurofins, DEKRA...(there are many).

    There is an assumption lurking here, that if two testing organisations test the same pre-production model of device that they will get the same answer. Also, if there is a natural variability in the devices, I expect you would have procedures in place to prevent someone privately pre-testing a set of devices and only sending on the devices for formal testing that passed the selection testing.

    You also have to make sure that the testing organisation knows its stuff - that's what you pay for, but...Radio Testing: An Insider’s Guide From an Outsider’s View

    There's a lot going on here: two tests on the same device by different organisations could be giving different results for many reasons, and the variability could be higher if they are testing two different samples from (possibly) different production lines. The testing organisations could have methodological differences. Production devices could be subtly different from the pre-production ones used during product development. Somebody somewhere, might have been trying to game the system.

    Meanwhile, the SAR levels for the general public are set deliberately low (as in, around 10% of levels shown to cause an effect*), so there's a pretty small chance this will have had any detectable health effect.

    SAR thresholds for electromagnetic exposure using functional thermal dose limits

    Conditional safety margins for less conservative peak local SAR assessment: A probabilistic approach

    A quick overview of what SAR testing involves: Varkotan: Specific absorption rate (SAR) Testing – 5 things for companies to consider


    *The effect is heating of body tissue. At the frequencies used by mobile phones, the emitted electromagnetic radiation is non-ionising, so the working assumption is that the principal effect is tissue heating. This is controversial in some circles, where people claim biological effects other than heating, but the regulations are concerned with heating effects. Epidemiological studies of mobile phone usage have been pretty good at confirming the null hypothesis, green jelly beans aside. The reasons why the SAR limits are set at the levels they are are outlined in this document from the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP): ICNIRP webpage on: RF EMFs 100 kHz - 300 GHz; [pdf] Actual ICNIRP document: ICNIRP GUIDELINES - FOR LIMITING EXPOSURE TO ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS (100 KHZ TO 300 GHZ) but the tl;dr grossly oversimplified summary is that for exposure to the head, the commission took a conservative lower value of the temperature rise required that has known adverse biological effects, determined the power level of radiation required to generate that rise, and set the exposure limit to be one tenth of that level.

    1. NXM Silver badge

      Re: Testing is easy?

      What, you can't fry an egg on an iPhone? I'm not buying one then.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Testing is easy?

        What, you can't fry an egg on an iPhone?

        Sure you can! Just set fire to the battery, put your frying pan on top. Job's a good'un!

    2. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Testing is easy?

      No two tests ever give the same answer. The physical disposition and state of the kit, even things like the instrumentation power cables, is critical to repeatability. Move anything a few mm, or maybe warm it up a few degrees, and the parasitic resonances will drift around - and it is likely that some of them will likely fall in the bandwidth under test. I don't know about testing these days, but back in my time duct tape (Gaffer tape in the UK) was God. Then again, with these software-defined radios, the test exercise regime is also crucial. If Apple used a test script (approved, natch) but the French just fired up the production install, there could easily be a big discrepancy.

      Most likely, Apple have some nice test labs under their thumb, maybe own/run them themselves: put your toy out to three labs, and only submit the best result for regulatory approval, that sort of thing. But was it that test or the French one that is unrepresentative of the production model when used at French frequencies?

      1. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: Testing is easy?

        Forgot to add, that is the question which the Dutch are asking themselves, hence their requests for the data. And no, I'm not betting on the outcome either.

  12. Tubz Silver badge

    "IF" the iPhone 12x is deemed to break rules, would be cheaper for Apple to just recall and replace with iPhone 15, less bad publicity and chances EU and countries will go softly on the fines.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      First, all the iPhone 15 need to be tested by EU, and again after each software update...

  13. Plest Silver badge

    So if they can't fix it does that mean e-waste and useless shit Apple Zealot-Totems dumped on Asian shores for 10 year old kiddies to spend all day melting and ripping apart for £5/day pay?

  14. GreggS

    All fixed now

    1. Ken G Silver badge

      Re: All fixed now

      A software update turning off the phone signal?

  15. Locomotion69

    O no

    A software update for ....“This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern.” ???

    Maybe Apple should call VW and ask how such "solution" worked out for them.

    1. Justthefacts Silver badge

      Re: O no

      As posted above: the phone is capable of transmitting on many frequency bands, SAR depends on band.

      The French protocol probably requires to conform on all the bands the phone is *capable* of. But many of these bands aren’t licensed in particular countries. The phone only uses a particular band if there is an operator on that band.

      The conformance violation is probably on a band not actually licensed in France. In the UK and US, we only check on bands that are licensed in our country because….otherwise the phone can’t use it anyway.

      The software fix will be to stop searching (and transmitting) on the unlicensed band, even if “the operator” supports it. Job Done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: O no

        The French protocol probably

        The conformance violation is probably


        The ANFR found the iPhone 12 is spewing out 5.74 w/kg instead of under 4 w/kg when in close contact with a person's body, e.g. a trouser pocket, here:

        The ANFR requires the SAR of devices to be checked against two different ways a phone is used.

        First there is a "membre" - or limb - check, for when a phone is in close contact with a person's body, such as when it is held or placed in a trouser pocket. The SAR limit for this is four watts per kilogram.

        The regulator said the device's "membre" SAR was 5.74 watts per kilogram - higher than the limit.

        You might find it acceptable for Tim Apple's phones to microwave your bollocks, but the French regulator doesn't and they know how to test SAR levels in their own country, unlike Apple it seems.

  16. Dizzy Dwarf


    It might be fine to wash the phone down with chlorine and hold it next to your ear in the USA. Not in Europe.

    ---> since it's Friday

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: It might be fine to wash the phone down with chlorine...

      Are you referring to the possibility of getting SARmonella poisoning?

  17. CowHorseFrog

    Article doesnt actually say where all the power is being wasted ?

    How come Apple's phone is using far more than others ?

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Tron Silver badge

    EU v Washington.

    The EU are peeved that Biden is offering trillions in subsidies to MAGA and pulling tech companies from the EU. In response, they may be cancelling US tech from the EU and demanding lots of loot from GAFA.

  20. colin79666

    Not the first time

    Remember the time the iPhone 7 failed against the FCC limits?

    It went a bit quiet after that story…

    I’d be more concerned about the watch given it is physically strapped to the body for 18 hours a day.

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