June 13, 2024
Apple Announces iOS 17.1 Will Disable Off-Body Power Boost for iPhone 12 Users in France

Apple Announces iOS 17.1 Will Disable Off-Body Power Boost for iPhone 12 Users in France

Posted October 10, 2023 at 7:17pm by iClarified
Apple has announced that iOS 17.1 will disable off-body power boost for iPhone 12 users in France in order to satisfy regulators.

In a support document, the company explains that the iPhone boosts its transmit power when sensor detect it's off-body. France apparently used a testing protocol that does not account for this, leading to concerns that the iPhone 12 emits too much radiation.

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On 12 September, France's Agence Française Nationale des Fréquences ("ANFR") released a statement about iPhone 12 exceeding set Specific Absorption Rate ("SAR") limits.


It is important for all iPhone 12 users in France and around the world to know that iPhone 12 is safe to use and always has been. All phones are required to meet accepted energy transmission standards for health and safety, and all iPhone models meet these standards. These international regulations and standards are in place to ensure that there are limits on energy transmission when a device is in close contact with the human body.

For more than a decade, iPhones have had an off-body detection feature that allows for slightly higher transmit power when you set the phone down, for example, on a table. This has been thoroughly tested and verified internationally to be an effective mechanism to comply with SAR requirements. The slightly higher power is not applicable to SAR compliance since the phone is on the table, not on your body.

The ANFR was using a testing protocol that does not account for this off-body detection mechanism, thereby not allowing a slight increase in power when it is appropriate. So for users in France, we have released a software update that turns off this feature to accommodate this test protocol.
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With the release of iOS 17.1, now in testing, Apple will no longer boost power when an off-body state is detected. This will ensure the device passes the ANFR's test; however, it could result in slight reduction in cellular performance.


More details below...

SAR Regulations and Standards


Since the launch of the product in 2020, iPhone 12 has been certified and recognized as meeting or exceeding all applicable SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) regulations and standards around the world. These international regulations and standards are in place to ensure that there are limits on energy transmission when a device is in close contact with the human body.

Body Detect Sensors


iPhone has sensors that can detect when it is sitting on a static surface, like a table, as opposed to being held in the hand or placed in a pocket. This off-body detection mechanism, which has been used in all iPhones for over a decade, allows the device to increase transmit power slightly in off-body scenarios to optimize performance.

The specific test protocol used by ANFR requires that devices meet the on-body SAR limits, even when the device is tested off-body on a static surface. This decision is not consistent with international standards, which allow for independent testing of power control mechanisms that may not be activated during standard SAR tests.

Software update for iPhone 12 in France


iOS 17.1 includes an update for iPhone 12 for users in France to accommodate this specific test protocol that requires reduced power when off-body on a static surface.

iPhone 12 will no longer increase the allowed power when the off-body state is detected, such as while it is sitting on a table. As such, in coverage areas where cellular signal is low, this change in antenna transmit power may result in slightly lower cellular performance in certain off-body use cases. The vast majority of users are not expected to notice any impact.

Please download the iClarified app or follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and RSS to be notified when iOS 17.1 is officially released.


Apple Announces iOS 17.1 Will Disable Off-Body Power Boost for iPhone 12 Users in France
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