Hot topics

Apple says not to hold your iPhone 7 to your head

AndroidPIT eric iphone 7 0262
© nextpit

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. / © NextPit

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?
View results

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

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.

Comparison: The best foldable phones

  Best large foldable Best clamshell flip Best foldable alternative Best passport foldable Best flip alternative Price pick
Image OnePlus Open product image Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Product Image Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Product Image Google Pixel Fold Product Image Motorola Razr+ (2023) Product Image Motorola Razr (2023) Product Image
Rating: OnePlus Open
Rating: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Rating: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Rating: Google Pixel Fold
Rating: Motorola Razr+ (2023)
Rating: Motorola Razr (2023)
Price Comparison
Go to comment (31)
Eric Ferrari-Herrmann

Eric Ferrari-Herrmann
Senior Editor

Eric has been with AndroidPIT since 2014. He’s writing articles and reviews for the German website. Topics are mostly privacy and new technology but there's also the occasional piece on environmental sustainability.

View all articles
Liked this article? Share now!
Recommended articles
Latest articles
Push notification Next article
Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing
Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing

  • Pasi Ala-mieto 1
    Pasi Ala-mieto Feb 21, 2017 Link to comment

    You may monitor your RF Exposure & SAR level with Quanta Monitor, free in Playstore

  • Sveinn Kjartansson 1
    Sveinn Kjartansson Jan 7, 2017 Link to comment

    Well IARC categorised ALL microwave radiation as possible carcinogen on May 31st. 2011 and since then we have had the French CERENAT, Lennart Hardell team from Sweden, NAT from USA among others to support an even higher categorisation. So please at least get the basics right before telling other people it's safe simply because YOU think so.

  • 1
    Cecelia Doucette Jan 6, 2017 Link to comment

    For folks just learning that the two-way microwave radiation that carries our data between our devices and cell towers/routers is hazardous to our health, I hope you will do your own research to learn about this important topic. I used to run campaigns to bring wireless devices into our schools, but once I did my independent research and saw that it is extremely hazardous, especially to children and fetuses, I began to educate others. Please feel free to watch a five-part cable series recently released. You can do a YouTube search on Cece Doucette Dangers of Wi-Fi. Thank you for joining the conversation.

  • 1
    Cecelia Doucette Jan 6, 2017 Link to comment

    Sadly, it's not the particular device being used that is of concern, it is the two-way electromagnetic radiation used for all wireless technology that is biologically hazardous. Our SAR standards set by the FCC account only for the thermal effect. Non-industry funded scientists all over the world are finding great evidence of harm from wi-fi radiation at non-thermal levels far below what our country exposes our citizens to, but that news isn't making it into mainstream media. Folks are welcome to do a search on Show the Fine Print to see what it says in the fine print of other wireless products. Thank you for tuning in.

  • 2
    ICH BIN Dec 3, 2016 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!!!

    The Vip

    • 1
      Sam Johnson Apr 10, 2017 Link to comment

      Did you know that Samsung measures their SAR values at the legal limit 15mm from the body? Apple is closer at 5mm so not as close as most people keep it next to their body or to the side of their head however, perhaps a more accurate representation of 'real use'... The S7 come out as 1.59 for certain models for at body measurement - 0.01 away from the legal limit when 1.5 cm away from the body?! Who keeps their phone that far away from the body?

      • 2
        Precision Apr 21, 2017 Link to comment

        Whenever the iphone radiation dangers are reported by someone, why do people leap to it's defence ? Apple put the best camera technology on it's phone for selfies, yet their sars ratings are appalling. When you consider kids use these phones, to get this level of radiation down should be Apple's number 1 priority. Samsung's phones are flawed in a lot of ways but their sars rating is not one of them. They are are far lower and you can feel the difference straight away. People shouldn't have burning brains when they make phone calls. This is 2017.

  • GT Ohh 14
    GT Ohh Nov 28, 2016 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.....

    • Brittany McGhee 21
      Brittany McGhee Nov 28, 2016 Link to comment

      That's a good point!

  • Dean L. 34
    Dean L. Nov 26, 2016 Link to comment

    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.

    GT OhhDeactivated Account

    • Brittany McGhee 21
      Brittany McGhee Nov 28, 2016 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.

      GT Ohh

      • Deborah Rubin 1
        Deborah Rubin Jan 6, 2017 Link to comment

        No matter which phone one buys, it should not be held against the head. I believe all exceed the limit and have for years. Most of the public still has no idea and the fcc and fda are not trying too hard to get the word out. The biggest surprise of all is that many adverse biological effects occur that the SAR level won't protect one from anyway. The BioInitiative Report finds: "The BioInitiative reports nervous system effects in 68% of studies on radiofrequency radiation (144 of 211 studies) in 2014. This has increased from 63% in 2012 (93 of 150 studies) in 2012. Studies of extremely-low frequency radiation are reported to cause nervous system effects in 90% of the 105 studies available in 2014. Genetic effects (damage to DNA) from radiofrequency radiation is reported in 65% (74 of 114 studies); and 83% (49 of 59 studies) of extremely-low frequency studies."

  • Mike 22
    Mike Nov 26, 2016 Link to comment

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

    GT OhhDean L.

    • Deborah Rubin 1
      Deborah Rubin Jan 6, 2017 Link to comment

      The signal received while texting is still strong enough to cause harm. There are hundreds and hundreds of studies showing adverse effects from levels below FCC Guidelines---which are only guidelines. See the BioInitiative Report Research Summaries or RF Color Charts for exposure levels and effects.

  • FM_q 2
    FM_q Nov 26, 2016 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.

    Tom Whitney

    • 7
      Ralf Fensch Nov 27, 2016 Link to comment

      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

    • Warren JB 10
      Warren JB Nov 27, 2016 Link to comment

      "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.

      GT Ohh

    • 1
      Banana Dan Dec 3, 2016 Link to comment

      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).

    • Deborah Rubin 1
      Deborah Rubin Jan 6, 2017 Link to comment

      The US National Toxicology Program, a part of NIH, found an increased risk for cancer. Also, a study by Lerchl, et al, 2015 found that this type of radiation is a cancer promoter--this study was a replication of a 2010 study by Thomas Tillman. "Lerchl found higher rates of cancer among mice exposed to SARs of 0.04 W/Kg, 0.4 W/Kg and 2 W/Kg —and in some cases, the lower the dose, the more cancer. For instance, he saw a higher incidence of lymphoma at the two lower doses than at 2 W/Kg, as shown in the histogram taken from his paper, which has been accepted for publication in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications:"

  • Mark G. 28
    Mark G. Nov 25, 2016 Link to comment

    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 🖖

    Dean L.

Show all comments
Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing