Apple Says Keep Your iPhone 12 Away From Your Pacemaker
Apple is urging users to keep the iPhone 12 and MagSafe accessories away from pacemakers and defibrillators due to electromagnetic interference, following a concerning report in the Heart Rhythm Journal.
It has been known for some time that the iPhone 12 has the potential to interfere with medical equipment, and Apple recently added the following paragraph to a related support document:
Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact. To avoid any potential interactions with these devices, keep your iPhone and MagSafe accessories a safe distance away from your device (more than 6 inches / 15 cm apart or more than 12 inches / 30 cm apart if wirelessly charging). But consult with your physician and your device manufacturer for specific guidelines.
While the support document already mentioned "MagSafe accessories" in the title, Apple has further emphasized that accessories like the MagSafe Charger and MagSafe Duo Charger may also interfere with medical devices:
All MagSafe accessories (each sold separately) also contain magnets—and MagSafe Charger and MagSafe Duo Charger contain radios. These magnets and electromagnetic fields might interfere with medical devices.
Apple goes on to explain that while all iPhone 12 models contain more magnets than previous iPhones due to the presence of MagSafe technology, they are "not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models."
Earlier this month, an article in the Heart Rhythm Journal cautioned that iPhone 12 models can "potentially inhibit lifesaving therapy in a patient" due to magnetic interference with implanted medical devices. Three doctors in Michigan tested this by holding an iPhone 12 near a patient's implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which immediately went into a "suspended" state for the duration of the test, according to the article.
We hereby bring an important public health issue concerning the newer generation iPhone 12 which can potentially inhibit lifesaving therapy in a patient particularly while carrying the phone in upper pockets. Medical device manufacturers and implanting physicians should remain vigilant in making patients aware of this significant interaction of the iPhone 12 and other smart wearables with their cardiac implantable electronic devices.
It is increasingly clear that users should take extreme caution with their MagSafe devices and accessories around medical devices. Apple provides more information about this issue in the "Important safety information for iPhone" section of the iPhone User Guide.