Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

France's iPhone 12 ban remains in place for some territories

iPhone 12 was on the edge of a recall

Regulators in France have now officially accepted Apple's iOS update and allowed the iPhone 12 to go back on sale on the mainland, but not in French-controlled territories around the world.

While disputed by Apple and different to international testing, France's Agence nationale des frequences (ANFR), claimed in September 2023 that the iPhone 12 exceeded the country's Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for RF exposure.

The ban came at around the same time that the iPhone 15 was launched, and Apple had dropped the iPhone 12 from its range.

Third-party resellers still stocked it, though, and most significantly of all, France also threatened a recall.

Apple released an updated version of iOS specifically for France, which would turn down the strength of the cellular modem's radio. In late September, French officials announced that they had approved Apple's update, and it was presumed the ban and possible recall would be lifted.

Instead, it's taken until October 26, 2023, for the ban to be officially lifted — but still not completely. The ANFR says in a press release that the ban "is therefore repealed in metropolitan France as of today," but also "however, it is maintained in the overseas departments."

"Departments" is France's term for the regions it controls outside of its own direct borders, sometimes referred to as "overseas France." There are 13 such French-administered departments around the world, but the ANFR has only specified that the following maintain the ban:

  • Guadeloupe
  • Guyana
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte
  • Reunion

Apple has specifically released this updated iOS version in France, so it makes sense that there would be other French-controlled regions that wouldn't have received it yet.

ANFR also says there is a "future update planned by Apple for these territories by the end of this year."

There remain several other French territories, but ANFR says that these all "fall under other legal frameworks." It's not clear, then, whether those ever had the ban.

In reporting the ANFR's announcement, France's Le Monde newspaper has said that the problem "does not pose a real health risk" (in translation) Specific Absorption Rate is a measure of the rate at which the body absorbs Radio Frequency radiation, and Apple's testing conformed to an international industry standard.