Technology 3 min read

iPhones Emit High Levels of Radiofrequency Radiation Says Report

Anna Hoychuk /

Anna Hoychuk /

The Federal Communications Commission is now investigating Apple‘s iPhones following a report claiming that the said devices emit dangerous amounts of radiofrequency radiation (RFR).

Over the past year, news media outlet Chicago Tribune launched an investigation into the radiofrequency radiation levels released by today’s most popular smartphones. The company hired California-based RF Exposure Lab to measure eleven different mobile phone models for RFR.

RF Exposure, which conducts radiation tests to help wireless companies seek FCC approval for their devices, tested smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and BLU. All the mobile devices used in the test were purchased new by the Tribune.

Wireless devices today must adhere to the RFR exposure limit set by FCC, which is 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) averaged over one gram of tissue. Out of all the mobile phones tested for RFR, Apple’s iPhones stood out as the highest emitters, exceeding FCC’s limit by a significant margin.

Testing Phones for Radiofrequency Radiation

RF Exposure conducted two separate tests on the 11 phone models. The first test, or the Standard Test, was done in accordance with FCC rules and guidelines. Each device’s radiofrequency radiation emission was measured at two distances from the simulated body: at 5mm and 2mm.

iPhone models X and 8 Plus passed the 5mm Standard Test with 1.38 W/kg and 0.84 W/kg RFR emission, respectively. On the other hand, the other two iPhone models, iPhone 7 and 8, exceeded the limit set by FCC.

Apple’s iPhone 7 emits the highest level of RFR at an average of 2.59 W/kg. Motorola’s Moto e5 Play, and Moto g6 Play exceeded the allowed RFR limit at 4.7 W/kg and 1.64 W/kg respectively.

iPhone 7 Radiofrequency Radiation Emission
iPhone 7 Radiofrequency Radiation Emission| Image courtesy of Chicago Tribune

Almost all 11 devices exceeded the FCC RFR limit when tested at a distance of 2mm.

The Tribune relayed the results of their investigation to all phone companies involved. Apple was clearly not happy with the results and refuted Tribune’s tests.

The news agency retested the iPhones based on Apple’s feedback (Modified Test), but again, the devices produced results that were way over the safety limit. Only the iPhone 8 passed the second test.

Following the second test, Apple officials refused Tribune’s request for comment or interview. Then, the Silicon Valley giant issued a statement saying:

“All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold. After careful review and subsequent validation of all iPhone models tested in the (Tribune) report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable … exposure guidelines and limits.”

iPhone Devices' Radiofrequency Radiation Emissions
iPhone Devices’ Radiofrequency Radiation Emissions | Image courtesy of Chicago Tribune

Samsung also issued a statement regarding the Tribune’s report, citing:

“Samsung devices sold in the United States comply with FCC regulations. Our devices are tested according to the same test protocols that are used across the industry.”

The FCC has not issued any official statement yet regarding the matter, but the agency said that they would examine some of the smartphone models included in the investigation of the Tribune.

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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