You might have heard some scary news that your iPhone may be emitting radiation. Radiation can be harmful and you're worried that your phone might make you sick, but we're here to explain that you may not have to worry so much. In this article, we'll tell you which iPhone has the most radiation and why that may not be so dangerous.
What Is Radiation?
Radiation is the electromagnetic energy released by objects. Everything emits radiation, even you and your iPhone! However, some things emit more radiation and this is where it can get dangerous.
Radiation is typically measured in a unit called sieverts, or a smaller unit called micro sieverts (μSv). Eating a banana will get you 0.1 μSv. However, a chest CT scan is worth about 5.8 μSv.
How Harmful Is Radiation?
Radiation can be deadly, if too much is received in a short period of time, or it can cause health problems if you experience prolonged exposure over a longer period. United States radiation workers are limited to 50 μSv per year to prevent them from getting health complications like cancer.
However, if you're dealing with small amounts of radiation like bananas, you'd have to eat a lot of them to get complications. You're more likely to get sick just from eating the bananas than from the radiation they give off.
Enough about bananas – let's talk about what radiation your iPhone has.
Types of Radiation
There are a few types of radiation, and each affects people differently. Your iPhone uses radio and microwave energy to help you make phone calls and connect to the Internet. More dangerous objects, like the Sun or a nuclear reactor, deal with ionizing radiation like gamma rays, X rays, and ultraviolet light.
This is all because of how much energy each wave carries at once. Radio waves carry the least amount of energy, while gamma rays carry the most. On the chart above, you can see that radio and microwaves from your iPhone have much less radiation energy than x-rays or nuclear reactors.
But how much radiation does an iPhone actually have, and is it harmful to you over a longer period of time?
What Is SAR?
SAR, or Specific Absorption Rate, is a measurement used to determine how much energy is absorbed by your body when radio or microwaves hit you. It's measured in watts per kilogram (w/kg). The higher the number, the more radiation you're receiving.
The number varies based on where the phone is held. You'll absorb more radiation if you're holding it up to your ear than if it's farther away from you. Most SAR measurements you'll find online are the radiation you'll receive if you hold your phone up to your ear.
Each smartphone model has a different SAR level, with some retaining higher SAR levels than others.
Which iPhone Has The Highest SAR Radiation?
Apple is legally required to provide a list of SAR ratings for each of its devices on its RF Exposure page. We've collected some of the ratings for some of the main flagship iPhones in the table below:
|Name||1.6 W/kg (Head)||1.6 W/kg (Body)||2.0 W/kg (Head)||2.0 W/kg (Body)|
|iPhone 6||Head: 1.08||Body: 1.14||Head: 0.93||Body: 0.97|
|iPhone 7||Head: 1.19||Body: 1.20||Head: 1.37||Body: 1.39|
|iPhone 8||Head: 1.29||Body: 1.13||Head: 1.35||Body: 1.36|
|iPhone X||Head: 1.09||Body: 1.17||Head: 0.87||Body: 0.97|
|iPhone 11||Head: 1.09||Body: 1.18||Head: 0.95||Body: 0.99|
|iPhone SE||Head 1.17||Body: 1.16||Head: 0.98||Body: 0.99|
|iPhone 12||Head: 1.17||Body: 1.19||Head: 0.98||Body: 0.99|
Apple must disclose the information for both the head and the body, as well as the SAR for different amounts of absorption. In this case, it's 1.6 W/kg and 2.0 W/kg.
Based on this information from Apple, the iPhone 7 has the most radiation. However, this is marginal compared other iPhones.
Can iPhone Radiation Hurt You?
Probably not. The radiation given off by iPhones isn't ionizing and is on the lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum, far from being dangerous like a UV light. Your iPhone will definitely not make you sick after using it for a few days.
Could your iPhone's radiation make you sick after a longer period of time, like years? There isn't enough information to tell. The exposure that you get from your iPhone is so small and non-ionizing that if it does have an impact, it may be extremely small.
Should You Worry About iPhone Radiation?
You shouldn't have to worry about the radiation your iPhone gives off. Even if there are long term effects, the amount of radiation you receive from your phone is so small that those effects are most likely very minor.
Still, you should be mindful about your iPhone use in general. There are other things to worry about like digital wellness and using your phone in a way that's responsible for your health. If you're concerned about the radiation your phone gives off, consider using hands free methods for phone calls, and holding your phone farther away from your body to reduce your exposure.
Consider Newer iPhones
Remember, newer iPhones tend to have a lower SAR rating. If you think that the difference will be better for your health, you may want to consider upgrading or switching to a newer iPhone. Check out our cell phone comparison tool to help find the right iPhone for you!
Now You Know The Truth!
Now you know all about which iPhones have the most radiation, and why that may not be a bad thing. We hope that this article helped you to understand your iPhone and how to use it responsibly. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend and leave a comment down below with any questions!
I had pains in my hip and stiffness all through my body. I would carry my phone in my handbag (sitting on my hip). once I started to suspect the phone might be the problem, I turned it off, and the pain went away. after that I discovered that my stiffness all through my body and my stomach pains, and the stomach pains of my young son were caused by radiation. To say that it is not harmful or making you sick because it is not ionising is ridiculous. I loved my iPhone. I still find Apple products the best… Read more »
Hi Liam – what is the safest method to listen to audio while sleeping? I have iPhone 12 and M1 Apple laptop. Thank you
Hi Liam, My major concern is that the iPhone or any cell phone makes that side of my head hurt. I use speaker phone mostly to avoid this. Also I can’t use headsets or anything other than a wired set of earphones. I feel that it comes from the batteries . How much harm does this do to my head.?
Hi Liam, thanks for the article. I am currently looking into buying a new iphone. However the newer phones you mentioned like the iphone 11 pro seems to emmit quite high radiation levels in comparison to the models you’ve mentioned here. There seems to be a disconnect.
Can a iPhone with a broken back cause more radiation.
Yes. I am thinking of getting the iPhone 12 pro max. I have a defibrillator implanted and I’m wondering if I can get one.
Hi Liam, Thanks for the article. I am EMF sensitive. In your chart what does the 1.6 W k/g and 2.0 W k/g referring to? Thanks!
It refers to body weight per tissue or anything in your body that can absorb radiation.
Hi Liam. Thank you very much for your info on iphones — it was very useful for me. I am wondering if you can help me please with advice on iPhones with the lowest SAR. I am planning to get a new phone but it has to be with lowest SAR due to long term problems with thyroid. I would be very grateful for your advice — I am looking for new iPhone with lowest SAR but reasonably priced.
Hi Tania, thanks so much for reading! Deciding which iPhone is right for you is entirely your call! However, I’m more than happy to share some resources that might help you come to a decision more confidently. First, here’s a link to a page on Apple’s website with all the RF Exposure Information for every Mac, iPad, and iPhone made since 2017: https://www.apple.com/legal/rfexposure/ To find out about iPhones specifically, just tap the iPhone icon in the menu! Then, you can click on any iPhone model you would like to find out about. Next, here’s a link to our Cell Phone… Read more »