French regulators on Tuesday ordered Apple to halt sales of the iPhone 12 for emitting too much electromagnetic radiation and to fix existing handsets.
The French agency that regulates radio frequencies, the ANFR, said testing found that the model emits more electromagnetic waves susceptible to be absorbed by the body than permitted.
The ANFR said it "ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 12 from the French market from September 12 due to the model exceeding the limit" for electromagnetic absorption by the body.
It said accredited labs had found absorption of electromagnetic energy by the body at 5.74 watts per kilogram during tests simulating when the phone was being held in the hand or kept in a pocket.
The European standard is a specific absorption rate of 4.0 watts per kilogram in such tests.
"Concerning phones already sold, Apple must in the briefest of delays take corrective measures to bring the affected phones into compliance," said the ANFR in a statement on its website. "Otherwise, Apple will have to recall them."
ANFR noted that tests that measure the electromagnetic radiation absorbed at a distance of five centimeters were in compliance with the limit of 2.0 watts per kilogram.
ANFR said its agents would verify beginning Wednesday that iPhone 12 models were no longer being offered for sale in France.
When contacted by AFP, Apple disputed the ANFR's results, saying it had presented multiple independent analyses showing the devices were in compliance, but that the company would nonetheless continue to work with the regulator.
Regulators in a number of countries have limits on the amount of electromagnetic radiation mobile phones may emit to prevent adverse health effects.
The World Health Organization states on its website that following a large number of studies that "no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use".
The news from France came the same day that Apple unveiled its new iPhone 15 lineup, the first to feature a universal charging port in place of its unique "Lightning" ports after a tussle with European regulators.
The EU is insisting that all phones and other small devices must be compatible with the USB-C charging cables from the end of next year, a move it says will reduce waste and save money for consumers.
"USB-C has become a universally accepted standard. So we're bringing USB-C to iPhone 15," said Kaiann Drance, Apple's vice president of iPhone marketing at a launch event.
The update comes as the Silicon Valley tech giant faces declining iPhone sales, as premium prices push customers to delay switching to newer models.
"Apple needed to deliver more than just minor updates to get people excited about buying new products," Techsponential analyst Avi Greengart said in a demo area at the event. "I think they delivered on that with lots of updates, some of them not so minor."