Apple Inc., facing a controversy in France over the iPhone 12’s radiation levels, has advised tech-support staff not to volunteer any information when consumers ask about the issue.
If customers inquire about the French government’s claim that the model exceeds standards for electromagnetic radiation, workers should say they don’t have anything to share, Apple employees have been told. Staff should also reject customers’ requests to return or exchange the phone unless it was purchased in the past two weeks — Apple’s normal return policy.
Customers asking if the phone is safe should answer be told that all Apple products go through rigorous testing to ensure that they’re safe, according to the guidance.
The French government asked Apple earlier this week to cease sales of the iPhone 12 because tests showed that the device emits electromagnetic waves that are too strong. The country’s digital minister told Apple it has two weeks to fix the issue via a software update.
Apple rebutted the claims and said it would engage with France to show that the iPhone 12 is compliant. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant said it provided officials with in-house and third-party lab testing to demonstrate that the product is within the legal range.
Apple was already phasing out the iPhone 12 just as the issue flared up. The model debuted in 2020, and Apple stopped selling it Tuesday with the announcement of the iPhone 15 line. But France’s stance threatens to spark concern among the millions of existing iPhone 12 users. Apple sold more than 100 million units of the device within its first seven months on sale, according to Counterpoint Research.
In the days since France’s initial statement, other countries in the European Union, including Belgium and Germany, have started to assess the iPhone 12’s radiation levels.