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Radiation from Cupertino: how dangerous is your iPhone to your health?

Last year there was quite a fuss about radiation from the iPhone 12. France even imposed a temporary ban. But are Apple’s smartphones really dangerous and has the problem been solved?

In September 2023, the iPhone 12 was banned from sale in France because of excessive electromagnetic radiation.

Apple eventually managed to fix this through a software update. After that, the iPhone 12 was allowed back on sale in France. But what exactly was going on?

Did the iPhone have radiation?

Every smartphone emits electromagnetic radiation (or radio waves), some more than others. France even has legislation about this. An iPhone or Android device cannot emit more than four watts per kilogram when worn close to the body, such as in a pocket.

Second, there is also a limit for when the smartphone is held a little further away from the body, such as in a bag. For this, the limit is 2 watts per kilogram.

Radiation from the iPhone: everything you need to know about itThe iPhone 12 in purple. (Image: Apple)

The iPhone 12 was above this with 5.74 watts per kilogram above the limit, leading the French to consider the device harmful to health.

Is electromagnetic radiation from the iPhone actually dangerous?

For this we have to look at the World Health Organization (WHO), which states that electromagnetic radiation in small amounts is not harmful to humans. So you need not be afraid if you use an iPhone.

Indeed, after the problems with the iPhone 12, every iPhone simply meets French standards for electromagnetic radiation. All models are now back in stores.

In addition, electromagnetic radiation is substantially different from other forms of radiation, such as X-rays, for example. That type of radiation is known to be harmful, but electromagnetic radiation has never been linked to health problems by scientists.

Laughed iPhone 15 feature comes to even cheaper iPhoneThe 15. (Image: Jeroen Kraak/WANT)

So are there no worries at all?

According to some experts, the only concern is that it could potentially increase the temperature of body tissues, as shown in research by The Washington Post. However, European standards (including French ones) are ten times lower than the threshold at which thermal effects can occur.

In the process, phones are tested at their maximum capacity. In practice, the electromagnetic radiation is actually less.

Can radiation be reduced?

As you saw in the French study, it distinguishes between wearing it against the body and, for example, carrying it in a bag. The more distance you keep from your iPhone, the less radio waves.

So if you want to reduce radiation, you can opt for headphones or earbuds while calling, for example. That way, the phone is at a greater distance from your body.


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Want to see exactly how many radio waves your iPhone emits? Then you can go to Settings > General > Legal information and regulations > RF radiation.

There you will find everything explained about electromagnetic radiation. However, it is important to note that the measurement results come from Apple. But as mentioned earlier, the iPhone is not being withdrawn from sale anywhere right now because of excessive radiation levels.

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