Apple will update iPhone 12 in France after regulators said it emitted too much radiation

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. emit / ɪˈmɪt / (v.) – to send out something, such as a smell, signal, or noise

    The sun emits heat and light.

  2. unveil / ʌnˈveɪl / (v.) – to show or tell people about a new product or plan for the first time

    The company unveiled its new product during the event.

  3. label / ˈleɪ bəl / (v.) – to use a word or phrase to describe someone or something in a negative way

    Smoking has been labeled as a dangerous habit.

  4. fume / fyum / (n.) – smoke or gas that is harmful or unpleasant

    The fumes came from the burning building.

  5. pesticide / ˈpɛs təˌsaɪd / (n.) – a chemical used to kill harmful insects and plants

    The vegetable crops are regularly sprayed with pesticides.


Read the text below.

Apple has agreed to install updates for the iPhone 12 in France after French regulators ordered the company to stop selling the model because it emits electromagnetic radiation levels that exceed European Union standards.

The company, which just unveiled its newest generation of iPhones, insists the 12 model is safe and the phones have been certified in countries around the world since its introduction in 2020. It says the problem raised by the French government agency that manages wireless communications frequencies is “related to a specific testing protocol.”

The French agency said the iPhone 12 recently failed one of two types of tests for electromagnetic waves capable of being absorbed by the body. France’s government ordered a halt to sales of the iPhone 12 and told Apple to issue a software update to address the problem or face a recall.

Apple said in a statement that it “will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators.” It did not elaborate.

The French ban could have extended to all 27 EU countries after three months if Apple had refused to issue updates and if no other government objected, European Commission spokesperson Sonya Gospodinova said.

France’s digital affairs minister said the iPhone 12’s radiation levels are still much lower than what scientific studies consider potentially harmful to users, and the radiation agency acknowledged that its tests don’t reflect typical phone use.

Cellphones have been labeled as possible carcinogens by the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, putting them in the same category as coffee, diesel fumes and the pesticide DDT. The radiation produced by cellphones cannot directly damage DNA and is different from stronger types of radiation like X-rays or ultraviolet light.

Experts have recommended that people concerned about their cellphone radiation exposure use earphones or switch to texting.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The French government agency responsible for wireless communications frequencies stated that the iPhone 12 failed one of two tests for electromagnetic wave. Do you think this failure alone is sufficient grounds for banning the iPhone 12 sales in France? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What impact do you think this incident will have on the reputation and sales of the iPhone 12? Will consumers perceive it as a safety concern or simply an isolated regulatory issue? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you think users are adequately informed about potential risks related to cellphone radiation exposure? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What role should smartphone manufacturers play in educating the public about safe phone usage practices? Why? Discuss.