The world of electromagnetic frequencies has always held a certain allure for me. It's akin to…
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Despite its age, the iPhone 7 remains a sought-after cell phone model. Whether you are currently using an iPhone 7 or contemplating purchasing one from a third party, it is natural to have concerns regarding the level of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation emitted by the device.
This comprehensive guide delves into the modifications Apple implemented with the release of the iPhone 7 and explores their potential impact on increased EMF radiation. Additionally, we delve into specific absorption rate (SAR) levels, providing insights into measures you can adopt to mitigate your overall EMF exposure.
Join us as we navigate through the intricacies of the iPhone 7, shedding light on the implications of its design choices and empowering you to make informed decisions about managing EMF radiation.
The iPhone 7: Key Features and Specifications
Introduced in September 2016, the iPhone 7 was lauded for features like its A10 Fusion chip, water resistance, improved camera, and of course, the absence of the headphone jack. But what about its radiation levels?
The vital parameter to consider is the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which quantifies the rate at which the human body absorbs energy when exposed to a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field. For the iPhone 7, the SAR value is 1.19 W/kg for head exposure and 1.20 W/kg when worn on the body. These values remain below the FCC limit of 1.6 W/kg, ensuring that the iPhone 7 complies with regulatory safety standards.
However, as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” While the iPhone 7 operates within regulatory limits, are these limits accurate? And does operating within them guarantee safety? As we journey further, we’ll tackle these questions and more.
The Science Behind iPhone 7 Radiation
Regarding the generation of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation, the iPhone 7 aligns with other cell phone models for the most part. When the device is powered on, it emits a certain level of extremely-low frequency (ELF) EMF radiation. Additionally, during signal transmission or reception activities, such as connecting to WiFi, the cellular network, or other Bluetooth devices, radiofrequency (RF) radiation is produced.
However, one distinctive feature of the iPhone 7 sets it apart in terms of radiation concerns—the absence of a traditional headphone jack. Encouraging users to embrace Bluetooth technology, the charging port also serves as the headphone jack. Consequently, special headphones with a lightning port are required, and they cannot be used simultaneously while the phone is charging.
Bluetooth itself generates RF-EMF radiation, and Bluetooth headsets pose specific concerns due to their proximity to the brain during use. It is plausible that Apple introduced this change to promote the adoption of their Bluetooth-enabled AirPods, which were released later that same year as the iPhone 7.
Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) levels quantify the amount of radiation absorbed by one gram of tissue, but its accuracy in reflecting real-life phone usage can be problematic. The standardized test assumes a 30-minute phone call, whereas contemporary cell phone users prioritize applications over voice calls.
Nevertheless, SAR levels serve as the current benchmark for EMF safety. Apple has reported SAR levels for the iPhone 7, alongside those of the iPhone 6 for comparison.
|1.6W/kg SAR limit
|2.0 W/kg SAR limit
|Head 1.08 Body: 1.14
|Head: .93 Body .97
|Head 1.18 Body: 1.18
|Head: .97 Body .98
|iPhone 6 Plus
|Head 1.14 Body: 1.16
|Head: .91 Body .99
|Head 1.19 Body: 1.19
|Head: .91 Body 1.0
|A1660 & A1780
|Head 1.19 Body: 1.2
|Head: 1.37 Body 1.39
|Head 1.2 Body: 1.9
|Head: 1.38 Body 1.34
|iPhone 7 Plus
|Head 1.19 Body: 1.19
|Head: 1.38 Body 1.34
In 2019, the Chicago Tribune conducted an investigation testing 11 cell phone models to compare their SAR levels with those reported to the FCC. This study aimed to determine whether existing regulations adequately safeguard the public from radiofrequency radiation effects. The current exposure limit is set at 1.6 watts per kilogram (w/kg) per gram of tissue.
The study involved testing phones at two distances from the body: the standard manufacturer distance (ranging from 5 mm to 15 mm) and a more realistic 2 mm to simulate phone storage in a pocket. Most of the tested phones exceeded the legal limit at the 2 mm distance. Surprisingly, the iPhone 7 exceeded the legal limit even at a 5 mm distance, contradicting Apple’s claimed test parameters. Further tests with three brand-new iPhone 7s yielded identical results.
Apple responded by noting differences in testing procedures between their labs and the Tribune’s researchers. In response, the FCC pledged to investigate the SAR levels of the iPhone 7.
Regulations and Standards on Smartphone Radiation
Worldwide, safety guidelines and standards for smartphone radiation vary. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that all smartphones sold have a SAR level at or below 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg). As we noted earlier, the iPhone 7’s SAR values are under this threshold. However, these standards have been under fire for being outdated. Established in the 1990s, critics argue they fail to reflect the current understanding of potential health risks.
It’s also worth noting that these regulations assume “typical” usage of smartphones. If you’re a heavy smartphone user, a child, or a pregnant woman, you might be more vulnerable to smartphone radiation, a factor not considered in current standards.
Steps to Minimize Exposure to iPhone 7 Radiation
While research continues to investigate the long-term health effects of smartphone radiation, it is reasonable to adopt a precautionary approach to smartphone use. Here are some practical steps you can take to minimize radiation exposure from your iPhone 7:
- Avoid storing your phone in your pocket. Compelling evidence from the Chicago Tribune’s test indicates that the iPhone 7 emits potentially hazardous levels of radiation when in close proximity, such as inside a pocket. It is crucial to acknowledge that carrying any cell phone in your pocket is ill-advised due to its potential links to cancer and infertility.
- Opt for a wired headset. Resist the allure of sleek AirPods and prioritize the use of wired headsets, which emit significantly lower levels of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation. Fortunately, there are various wired headset options available for the iPhone 7. If you prefer to stay within the Apple brand, the manufacturer offers an affordable wired headset with a built-in remote and microphone.
- Activate airplane mode at night or during periods of non-use. RF-EMF radiation is generated when your phone sends or receives a signal. To minimize exposure, switch your phone to airplane mode when you won’t be using it or engage in offline activities. You can still enjoy downloaded music, books, movies, and select games.
- Utilize an RF shielding case. RF shielding cases are designed to protect your body from your phone’s EMF radiation when the device is not in use. SafeSleeve offers a model with vegan leather specifically compatible with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. This case even features a built-in wallet, allowing you to store credit cards and your driver’s license. Lab-tested, SafeSleeve’s case can block up to 99% of RF-EMF radiation when used correctly.
- Maintain a distance of over 10mm between your body and the phone during use. The Tribune’s test revealed potential safety concerns even at the standard five mm distance. As a precaution, endeavor to hold the device at least 10 mm away from your body while using it. Furthermore, when not in use or during sleep, keep the phone several feet away from you to further reduce exposure.
Remember, these are precautionary steps. The aim is to reduce potential risks, especially while the scientific community continues to research and understand the long-term effects of smartphone radiation.
Future Trends: Smartphones and Radiation Safety
The smartphone industry is continually evolving, with new models boasting more power and features. But what about radiation safety? Manufacturers are indeed working towards reducing the SAR values of their smartphones. However, with the advent of new network technologies, such as 5G, the conversation around smartphone radiation is bound to get more complicated.
The balance between technological advancements and health safety is a delicate one, and continued dialogue in the public and scientific communities is crucial. As consumers, staying informed about our devices’ potential impacts is the first step towards safe and healthy use.
The intersection of technology and health is a complex and continually evolving landscape. While the iPhone 7, like other smartphones, complies with current safety standards, there are ongoing debates and investigations about these standards’ adequacy in protecting us from potential long-term effects of exposure to smartphone radiation.
Even with the best scientific data at hand, it’s crucial to remember that everyone’s use of smartphones is different. Therefore, it’s up to each of us to make informed decisions about our smartphone use. It’s not about abandoning technology—our smartphones, after all, play a vital role in our daily lives—but rather about using it wisely and safely.
So, is iPhone 7 radiation something to lose sleep over? As of current scientific understanding—no. But should we stay informed, adopt sensible precautionary habits, and keep an eye on future research? Absolutely. As always, knowledge is your best defense.