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iPhone models, the strongest rays

The German Federal Office for Radiation Protection regularly measures the SAR values of smartphones. These values indicate how much potentially pathogenic radiation a cell phone emits to the body. atechbook compared the values of all iPhones.

Apple has released dozens of different iPhone models since its first launch in 2007. These include groundbreaking smartphones like the iPhone 3Gs and, most recently, devices like the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which primarily enter price spheres beyond 1500 euros. All iPhones and also smartphones from other manufacturers have one thing in common: they shine. But you would probably never have guessed which iPhones emit the most radiation.

Two measuring points for the SAR value

The German Federal Office for Radiation Protection measures the value of smartphones at two different distances from the body – once at the ear, once at the body. The value at the ear is always higher, since the device lies directly on the skin. When measuring on the body, on the other hand, a measuring distance of 0.5 to 1.5 cm applies. For both measurement methods, the result is a different peak value in the negative sense. The SAR value is given in watts per kilogram (W/kg).

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Consequences of cell phone radiation uncertain

The study situation on the danger of cell phone radiation is currently not clear. Cancer risk is repeatedly mentioned as a possible long-term consequence of radiation from iPhones and Android smartphones. In 2011, an expert committee of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) agreed to classify cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic.” So if you’re cautious, you’d better reach for a smartphone with a low SAR value.

Radiation from iPhones: The results are surprising

First of all, it seems obvious that either a very old iPhone or a very new iPhone emits the most radiation. One argument in favor of the old iPhone could be that the technology was not yet as advanced back then and that the devices therefore had a particularly high SAR value. However, exactly the opposite is the case. The oldest models, such as the first-generation iPhone and the iPhone 3G, have some of the lowest SAR values – both at the ear and on the body. At that time, however, the measuring distance for body measurements was still 1.5 cm, instead of the current 0.5 cm.

iPhone (1st generation)

SAR value at the ear: 0.62

SAR value on the body (1.5 cm): 0.003

iPhone 3G

SAR value at the ear: 0.88

SAR value on body (1.5 cm): 0.56

The radiation levels of newer iPhone models are considerably higher – but they still don’t top the list of the biggest offenders. The values are consistently below 1 W/kg. This is also quite a good average for current smartphones, as there are devices that are far above that.

Model SAR value at the ear in W/kg SAR value on the body (0.5 cm) in W/kg
iPhone X 0,92 0,95
iPhone Xr 0,99 0,99
iPhone Xs 0,99 0,99
iPhone Xs Max 0,99 0,99
iPhone 11 0,95 0,99
iPhone 11 Pro 0,99 0,99
iPhone 11 Pro Max 0,95 0,99
iPhone SE (2020) 0,98 0,99
iPhone 12 mini 0,98 0,99
iPhone 12 0,98 0,99
iPhone 12 Pro 0,99 0,99
iPhone 12 Pro Max 0,98 0,99
iPhone 13 mini 0,97 0,98
iPhone 13 0,98 0,99
iPhone 13 Pro 0,99 0,98
iPhone 13 Pro Max 0,99 0,98

Status: May 2022

The measured values show: The SAR value of the younger iPhone generations remains quite stable across all models and is always below 1. Even the iPhone 13 models with 5G technology do not make a difference.

iPhones with unexpectedly high radiation

The results of the old and new iPhones already show that the biggest radiation sinners among Apple’s phones are rather surprises. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models have the highest radiation values of all iPhones. We are explicitly not talking about the larger Plus models here. The latter actually radiate less than the smaller base variant. The values for the 7 and 8 are as follows:

iPhone 7

SAR value at the ear: 1.38

SAR value on the body (0.5 cm): 1.34

iPhone 8

SAR value at the ear: 1.32

SAR value on the body (0.5 cm): 1.36


  • Federal Office for Radiation Protection


  • Apple
  • iPhone