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Apple says not to hold your iPhone 7 to your head

This just in: Apple says you shouldn't hold your iPhone 7 to your head when making calls. Although Apple says the iPhone has been tested and meets "applicable limits" for RF exposure, but apparently that's not good enough to hold the phone against your head. Read on to find out if your phone is affected by this information, and what you should do to be safe when making calls.

This is bizarre. A phone you're not supposed to hold to your ear? The company has released the iPhone 7's RF exposure information with a suggestion to "use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories." It goes further, saying that you should that when you carry the phone it should be at least 5 mm away from your body "to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels." To me, this sounds like it would be awkward to use. While some prefer hands-free calling, others are a bit more traditional when it comes to using their phones and want to hold them against their ear. 

AndroidPIT iPhone 7 review 2868

Apple says you should avoid holding the iPhone 7 against your head to make calls. / Β© AndroidPIT

Even the phone's case is not without issues. Using a case with metal parts "may change the RF performance of the device, including its compliance with RF exposure guidelines, in a manner that has not been tested or certified."

According to the FCC's website, "FCC approval means that the device will never exceed the maximum levels of consumer RF exposure permitted by federal guidelines, but it does not indicate the amount of RF exposure consumers experience during normal use of the device." This means that the maximum reported levels may not reflect the safety of the device for average daily use, and it isn't a good way to compare the safety of one model of phone to another.

Do you check the SAR when buying a new phone?
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Is my device affected?

These RF exposure guidelines apply to the A1778 model specifically. You can check the back of your phone to see if your model matches.

The A1778 model doesn't work on CDMA networks like Sprint or Verizon in the US, but the model is available through T-Mobile and AT&T. It can also be found in many European and Asian countries.

On AT&T and T-Mobile, the iPhone 7 32 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB versions in Jet Black, Black, Rose Gold, Gold, and Silver fall under this model number, according to techwalls.com.

The highest SAR values for Model A1778 are as follows:

1.6 W/kg (over 1 g) SAR Limit
Head: 1.19
Body: 1.19

2.0 W/kg (over 10 g) SAR Limit
Head: 1.38
Body: 1.34





You can read the full information on Apple's website.

Will you be changing the way you make calls? Will this keep you from buying an iPhone 7? Let us know in the comments.

21 comments

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  • ICH BIN 23 hours ago Link to comment

    Samsung has the best SAR values...and spending so much money for an IPHONE means that i should get a perfect phone and i shouldn't have to worry about my head or healthy. Not a great job, Apple!!!

  • GT Ohh 6 days ago Link to comment

    I personally dont like holding any cell/mobile phones to my head, not for fear of RF but for the fact that they all get so damn hot.

    I mainly use speaker at home & an earbud if I want some privacy.....

  • Truth is that all cell phones have a SAR rating. Some are high and some are lower. So be it, but face it, were are always being exposed to RF. It flat out is around us every day whether we use a cell phone or not, it's just your level of exposure is higher when you use one. Just saying.

    • Brittany McGhee
      • Admin
      • Staff
      6 days ago Link to comment

      RF exposure isn't avoidable entirely, but it can be reduced. Some people aren't concerned at all about a phone's SAR, but for some it is a big concern.

      The results of the poll in the article (so far) show that of 171 votes, 81% of our readers don't check the SAR before buying a new phone. So, it looks like it doesn't matter to the majority.

      But, there are still 19% of our readers who think it is important enough to be informed and check a phone's SAR before making a purchasing decision.

  • Mike 1 week ago Link to comment

    Who uses smartphones to make phone calls anyway? Most people I see are using them as texting machines.

  • FM_q 1 week ago Link to comment

    Devices function in the physical world... your frigging head is part of that world. RF (radio frequency signals) interact with your head, affecting both the performance of the antenna and the amount of power that goes into and out of the antenna. It is the same with Android or any other phone. Bodies affect performance. Deal with it. Study some engineering and deal with it.

    As to the cancer issue... it has been pretty well debunked for ages.... are you on that phone 24/7/365? If so, and you're worried about your RF exposure and cancer, I submit you should be worried about the lousy life you are leading. Get real. Do you shine your flashlight 24/7/365? Run your blender 24/7/365? Aren't you worried they'll blind you, make you deaf, or give you cancer?!!! EVERYBODY PANIC!!!! My vitamix is going to kill us all!!!

    Honestly, I'm used to Americans being pretty stupid. (Witness the last election.) But the level of ignorance of tech is absolutely amazing. We're talking milliwatts here. Old AMPS style cell phones from the 1980's emitted 5 WATTS, for crissake, and we stuck those puppies right up against our heads. Modern digital signals are fractional compared to those phones, and rely on digital signal processing (DSP) because now we can afford the portable horsepower to use it due to advances in chips.

    You know... what really will get you killed is texting while driving. Is Apple / Google responsible for that? That is a LEGITIMATE danger, but who the hell is screaming about how Tim Cook should fix this horrible problem?

    If you use a phone like a normal person, you'll get a little exposure to pretty low power digital signals very infrequently. If your thick head is in the way of your signal, face the other way. It's really that simple. Go worry about the erosion of the social safety net and civil liberties.. you know.. something important. But man, Android or Apple either one... forget about this cancer/cellphone nonsense.

    • U r missing the point. U r just as ignorant as the election american's. This has nothing 2 do with texting or who's resposible. It's about selling us an overpriced and dangerous product and rubbing it in our face's. Selling a telephone but don't use it as one. Wtf

    • "I submit you should be worried about the lousy life you are leading."

      I look at your little temper tantrum and I think the same thing.

    • The issue here has nothing to do with cancer which would be caused by ionizing radiation, it has to do with heat caused by microwave radiation. Microwave radiation vibrates water molecules which produces heat and is used by microwave ovens for this purpose, but also wifi, cell signals, etc. Normal radiation caused by microwave oven, wifi, etc. around you won't be an issue because the amount is so small, however with the phone right up against your skin there will be much greater radiation due to the proximity. The microwaves from a phone won't be enough to burn you, but I don't know what other issues they have found this causing (maybe even inducing small currents?).

      I also don't see where Apple says you shouldn't hold the phone to your head, except to say that it would reduce exposure. They also show it is below FCC mandated levels. So, before complaining about people saying it will cause cancer, first check what the article claims is true, and second do some research on why the FCC has this specific regulation (even though I'm sure you're in-depth study of engineering, extraordinary life, ability to run blenders without going deaf, willpower to not text while drive, and hellish screams directed at Tim Cook are beyond what any mortal Americans can ever achieve, it actually makes me doubt your "friggin head" /is/ part of this physical world and not of a much higher dimension).

  • I think the article is a little over the top, whilst I am not a fan of Apple at all I think you should have at least compared the IPhone 7 to other flagship devices. Some further explanation of SAR values and results should definitely be included in such a article.

    Though personally I've never paid much attention to the SAR levels or whether having my S5 in my pockets will lead to impotence.

    Maybe IPhone users should resort to tinfoil hats to shield against radiation poison ☠ ...

    Peace πŸ––

    • GT Ohh 6 days ago Link to comment

      Androidpit didnt do the SAR test, those are apples own figures...... πŸ€˜πŸ––

      • ......which are below the FCC limit. Androidpit did, however, fabricate the statement that you should not hold an iPhone to your head which I don't see stated on the page they linked (other than that doing so will reduce RF exposure). Sign language translation: πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ––πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ€˜πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––πŸ€˜πŸ––. Live long and prosper.

    • Brittany McGhee
      • Admin
      • Staff
      6 days ago Link to comment

      Thanks for the idea, Mark. Maybe we will write a separate article on which phones have the lowest/highest SAR ratings. Would anyone else be interested to know? Let us know with a comment below.

      • "Some further explanation _of SAR values_ and results should definitely be included in such a article."
        Apple also never says you shouldn't hold the phone to your head. An article on the SAR ratings of different phones is pointless without explaining why it matters. If you want to say people shouldn't hold phones to their head, show research that explains the effects of exposure to different amount of RF radiation. This article displays a complete lack of understanding of what EM radiation even is, and even a lack of common sense. At the end he says A1778 is affected, yet even just changing the URL provided from ...osure/iphone9,3/en/?a... to 9,1 shows A1660, A1780 with /higher/ exposure levels. How about iPhone 2,1, the 3GS, it has lower levels, but the page says to keep it 15mm away rather than 5mm.
        Either learn the science, or get out.

  • What is this nonsense? Apple at no point says that you should not hold an iPhone to your head. The page linked to on the Apple support pages is merely an advisory about how to reduce RF exposure -- something that applies to any phone in existence. The statement "Apple says you should avoid holding the iPhone 7 against your head to make calls" is utterly unsubstantiated!

    • Hi mark the iPhone 7 has a very high radiation level if you hold it to your face for a very long time then it might give you radiation cancer. It is unlikely that just a simple phone call will give you cancer but it good because sometimes you sleep on an Apple just warning you and stuff like that so why don't you listen to the article and not hold up to your ear

      • The problem with the article is that it very clearly says that Apple warns users not to hold the iPhone 7 to their heads -- the company says nothing of the sort. It has issued an advisory about how to reduce RF exposure, but that's far from the same thing! It's also worth noting that there are no credible studies that confirm a link between mobile phone use and 'radiation cancer'. My main problem, however, is that the article makes a claim that is simply not true.

      • Brittany McGhee
        • Admin
        • Staff
        6 days ago Link to comment

        The word "suggestion" is used in the article. Not "warning." The meaning of the article is clear: to reduce RF exposure, Apple says don't hold your iPhone directly against your ear.

        The jury is still out on the link between RF exposure and cancer. The FCC says, "Some studies have also examined the possibility of a link between RF exposure and cancer. Results to date have been inconclusive." (https://www.fcc.gov/engineering-technology/electromagnetic-compatibility-division/radio-frequency-safety/faq/rf-safety#Q7)

        Since there is no conclusive proof that is is or isn't harmful, some people are concerned. Concerned people are empowered to inform themselves about RF exposure and ways to reduce it. According to the above poll results thus far, 19% of respondents think SAR is important enough to check before purchasing a phone.

        These precautions suggested by Apple are also suggested by the FDA. "...it [the FDA] has stated that, while there is no proof that cellular telephones can be harmful, concerned individuals can take various precautionary actions, including limiting conversations on hand-held cellular telephones and making greater use of telephones with hands-free kits where there is a greater separation distance between the user and the radiating antenna." (https://www.fcc.gov/engineering-technology/electromagnetic-compatibility-division/radio-frequency-safety/faq/rf-safety#Q10)

        When it comes to health and safety, our readers can decide for themselves whether checking a phone's SAR is important to them. To learn more, our readers can check authoritative sources like the FCC and the FDA's websites.

      • The headline says very clearly "APPLE SAYS NOT TO HOLD YOUR IPHONE 7 TO YOUR HEAD" -- there is no qualifier there.

        The first sentence says: "This just in: Apple says you shouldn't hold your iPhone 7 to your head when making calls." Again, no qualifier.

        Jump to paragraph two: "The company has released the iPhone 7's RF exposure information with a suggestion to "use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories."" There is, once more, no qualifier. There is no hint that this is to 'reduce' RF exposure. Taken in the context of the headline and introductory sentences, the reader is clearly meant to believe that this is how the iPhone should be used.

        Look next to the caption for the image: "Apple says you should avoid holding the iPhone 7 against your head to make calls." Again... it lacks the very, very importance qualifier that this is only the case if you are looking to reduce RF exposure. Without this qualifier, it sounds like an instruction -- which it very much is not.

        I'm sorry, but the article is scaremongering, clickbait, and nonsense. Try to defend it all you want, but the presentation of a very loose facts very clearly frames it in a way that is just wrong.

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