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Don't Put Your iPhone Next To Your Head

When I say don't put your iPhone next to your head it's not my opinion. It's actually stated in the iPhone manual.

My partner Rob Schuham recently sent me a blog post about the RF radiation and it mentioned that Apple, in the iPhone manual, suggests that you keep the phone 5/8" away from your body. I wasn't sure I believed it, this being the web and all. So we pulled out our iphone manual here at the Cottage, and sure enough there it was.

Now we have all heard about the potential harmful effects of the radiation coming off our cell phone antennae, but most of us have probably ignored it or just figured it was some sort of technological paranoia. One way or another, I've always laughed it off.

But someting about this warning in their manual reminded me of the work I did all of those years on Truth and all of the research into the tobacco companies that came with it.

Interestingly enough, the first to begin to suspect that cigarettes were killing people were the tobacco companies themselves. After all, they are most intimate with their product. And their reaction, to avoid liability, was to deny that there was a problem. When there was no way to deny the problem any longer, they shifted to the stance that, "it is a personal decision." Thus moving liability to the user. Well, those tactics were very successful for a very long time, and in some ways you could say that they are still working.

As I gazed on the warning within the iPhone brochure, I couldn't help but imagine the swirling emails and conversations among the legal team as they crafted this language. As any of you who have worked to get a manual out the door in time knows, this language has been considered very carefully and it has gone through many revisions. And the only reason it would make it into the final document is that the legal minds thought there was a liability issue that they were mitigating. Mitigating risk is their job and it is the job of this document. By "mitigating risk," unfortunately, I don't mean the risk to us the users, I mean the risk of financial liability for the company.

This gets my attention. They know something, and it makes me especially concerned for the safety of my children whose brains are said to be more susceptible to environmental assaults.

Now what to do with our iPhones? Maybe there is a product opportunity here for a case that prevents you from getting the device too close to your head. There goes the slim look - 5/8" is a lot when you think about it.

You would need to hold your phone about this far away from your head!


Who does that? Has anyone heard that you should do that? It's actually quite weird if you try it.

Obviously, talking on speaker or with an earpiece makes sense as a precaution. But the radiation is not present just when you're on a call. It can be strongest when the phone is in your pocket and you're not on it. My phone just officially moved out of my pocket into my messenger bag.

Something tells me we are at the beginning of this story not the end.


Here is the copy from the Apple iPhone manual:

For optimal mobile device performance and to be sure that human
exposure to RF energy does not exceed the FCC, IC, and European Union
guidelines, always follow these instructions and precautions: When on a
call using the built-in audio receiver in iPhone, hold iPhone with the dock
connector pointed down toward your shoulder to increase separation
from the antenna. When using iPhone near your body for voice calls
or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone
at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) away from the body, and only use carrying cases,
belt clips, or holders that do not have metal parts and that maintain at
least 15 mm (5/8 inch) separation between iPhone and the body.
iPhone is designed and manufactured to comply with the limits for
exposure to RF energy set by the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) of the United States, Industry Canada (IC) of Canada, and regulating
entities of Japan, the European Union, and other countries. The exposure
standard employs a unit of measurement known as the specific
absorption rate, or SAR. The SAR limit applicable to iPhone set by the
FCC is 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg), 1.6 W/kg by Industry Canada,
and 2.0 W/kg by the Council of the European Union. Tests for SAR are
conducted using standard operating positions (i.e., at the ear and worn
on the body) specified by these agencies, with iPhone transmitting
at its highest certified power level in all tested frequency bands.
Although SAR is determined at the highest certified power level in each
frequency band, the actual SAR level of iPhone while in operation can
be well below the maximum value because iPhone adjusts its cellular
transmitting power based in part on proximity to the wireless network.
In general, the closer you are to a cellular base station, the lower the
cellular transmitting power level.

iPhone’s SAR measurement may exceed the FCC exposure guidelines for
body-worn operation if positioned less than 15 mm (5/8 inch) from the
body (e.g., when carrying iPhone in your pocket).

By Alex Bogusky


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Reader Comments (20)

Interesting, relevant paper

In healthy participants and compared with no exposure, 50-minute cell phone exposure was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the antenna.

They still don't know what that glucose in the brain means, but they know two things
1) It's unnatural to have that happen to your brain
2) It's caused by the cell phones

March 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentervruz

I agree that all cell phone mfr's know something.

I'm suddenly looking around the house for a ruler to measure the width of my ear. Desperately hoping it's 5/8 ". Rethinking how convenient it is to have the sleek little monster in in my front pocket.

March 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrendonK

The offending piece of hardware is the emitting device.
Headphones with a mike would let you carry the phone in your bag/backpack/purse, where it causes less harm.
When I'm not travelling with a bag, I carry it in my jeans, away from any outstanding organs.

March 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentervruz

This is a possible solution.

Evidently people in Europe are much more concerned about radiation.

March 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Well, I am sure lots of other parents didn't like you selling junk food to their kids.

I would imagine child obesity is a bigger danger than this.

But you were happy to make a lot of money out of it.

March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoosty

Thank you ~Alex~ for bringing this to everyones awareness. This form of environmental pollution not only weakens our immune system and minds, it also lowers/interferes with our vibrational levels of consciousness. I have started to turn off my iPhone, not just leaving it on all the time. On days that you feel a bit "off " or mentally "fuzzy" see how you feel after turning off ~ unplugging electronically. This will help to regenerate your energy and clear your brain a bit!


March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIN-B-TWEEN

Thank you for spreading awareness, Alex. Buy an EMF protector for all cell phones and all other wireless devices in your life. This is a simple and effective way to reduce your body's exposure to harmful electromagnetic frequencies. When you hold a cell phone up to your head, you are basically microwaving your brain -- this is why your ear will get "hot" after a while -- how can that be a good thing? Headphones only amplify the power of the frequencies by concentrating them into a smaller area, so that's no solution.

March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Gentilcore

For anyone open to this, a chunk of the mineral selenite can neutralize electronic pollution! Tesla actually carried it in his pockets! Ha.


March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIN-B-TWEEN

Hi Alex,
Thanks, this is one of the best posts I have read in the last 2 years that I'm dealing with mobile phone radiation.

I must say the problem is much more acute due to our inability to know when we are exposed to high levels of radiation (SAR), which expose us to more then 100-150 times of the radiation compared to when we are in normal levels.

We at tawkon ( developed an application that lets you "see exposure to mobile phone radiation" (SAR) and take control ("precautionary measures") in order to reduce it, easy & practical "suggestions" (as we call them - change the position you hold the device, move to another location, etc).

We were rejected by Apple -

but endorsed and available on Blackberry and Android

for more information:
1. about the company & product -
2. research and scientific information about cellular radiation -

Amit Lubovsky
Co-Founder tawkon

March 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramit lubovsky

This makes me wonder about laptops too... mainly about the wording. If the same applies to a laptop and they aren't supposed to be used on your lap, it would really account for the fact that apple doesn't refer to macbooks as laptops once on any documentation. Possibly to avoid legal issues with making mac owners sterile.

Just a thought.

March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Gurnell

Great post - the concern isn't limited to the iPhone - look what Pong Research posted on what Phone Manufacturers put in the fine print of their user manuals.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon Fukuda

We humans are electromagnetic beings~like big magnets, and the way we vibrate effects what we attract. Feelings create vibratory levels in us, and thoughts create feelings. Thus, we should pay careful attention to our thoughts, and keep them positive. Like attracts like ~ this is how we make things happen! When one is harmed all are harmed. When one is healed all are healed. Stay strong!


March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIN-B-TWEEN

Thank you for writing this. Maybe people will think about this more coming from you. I've told them about this and many just blew me off. I'm now using a Blue Tube (not Blue Tooth) air-tube headset now to cut the radiation transferred through a standard wired headset. Do a search, many companies offer it. BTW, 2 friends of mine have died from inoperable brain cancer and both were heavy cell phone users who held the phone to their heads. Stay healthy and thanks again.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Michael Fong

Radiation issue is very real. All the handbooks mention not putting phones to your ear and the New York Times did a solid expose on the issue last year.

A friend of mine is spending a lot of time with NexDisc, a company that cuts radiation by over 50 percent. I have it on my phone (and my bride's):

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike Duda

When "vruz" said, "away from any outstanding organs" this commenter may have forgotten about their genitals.

There's definitely some interest in this topic for any guys that are concerned about testosterone levels and how that effects semen production, energy levels, and muscle hypertrophy.

Men writing about this topic usually cap it off with vowing not to carry cell phones in their pants pockets. Even a cargo pocket located on your thigh or shin would be better. Tim Ferriss writes about this in the 4 hour body.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAbbie Huxley

This is very important. Israeli scientist conducted a study last year outlining the devastating effects this can have on the human brain. Their findings were buried BURIED by our lovely FCC. Much like the Phillip Morris documents and their love affair with shredders the FDA. Glad you're putting this out there my friend.

March 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

We should also switch sides when talking on the phone to distribute the deleterious effects. It pleases me to see that some of us are waking up to the damage caused by EMFs of all varieties (ionizing and non-ionizing). What we will be learning more about (hopefully) is how EMFs directly impact mental and physical health, and how these effects can be (and probably are) controlled. We will also learn more about how these effects are magnified by toxins present in the products we consume (pesticides, aspartame, fluoride, pharamceuticals, etc.). What is most interesting is whether or not this is all a part of the population reduction agenda put forth by many within the global elite. If that is the case, the battle for consumer (population) advocacy is a more complicated one than we imagine. I've got ideas and I hope others do too.

March 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHusani Barnwell

GQ did a great article on this issue a while back.

(love the visual btw).

It's not just the iPhone, it's all phones. In fact, it's not just phones, it's all wireless. So unless you go back to a corded home phone and wired computer you're pretty much screwed. Even if you do, check out how many wi-fi networks are in your range all the time.

Sadly, holding your phone 5 cms away won't do much - we're being bombarded by this stuff.

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Recently got rid of my iPhone! Sending smoke signals these days. Namaste and.....

Blessings :)

May 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIN-B-TWEEN

Thanks for this posting, Alex. Researched it with Apple when I couldn't find the 5/8 inches statement in the User Manual. The statement appears in the SAFETY MANUAL, not the user manual.
Is this also true of other cell phones? Why just the iPhone? If the glass is broken on a cell phone, does it emit higher RAF?

April 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrant

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