Apple advises keeping your iPhone 12 up to 30cm away from your pacemaker

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Last year Apple reintroduced MagSafe with the launch of the iPhone 12 series.

The wireless charging solution makes use of magnets to keep the charger in place. While it’s a nice feature, Apple has had to alert users with implanted pacemakers and defibrillators to a possible risk with the MagSafe magnets.

“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),” Apple wrote in a support article published to its website.

The firm notes that while the iPhone 12 series contains more magnets than prior iPhone models, it isn’t expected to pose, “a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices” than previous handsets.

However, the reason Apple is addressing this at all is because the Heart Rhythm Society published a study this month which highlighted the danger of the magnets when placed near an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD).

“An ICD system contains a battery, capacitors, sensing/ pacing circuit together with an intra-or extra-cardiac lead. All ICD’s have an in-built switch (Reed switch, Hall-effect sensors, Giant magneto sensitive resistors or coils) which respond to an externally applied magnetic field. When an external magnet is applied to a defibrillator, high voltage shock therapy for ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation is suspended. It has been estimated that a magnetic field stronger than 10 Gauss is strong enough to activate these switches,” the researchers wrote.

“Once the iPhone was brought close to the ICD over the left chest area, immediate suspension of ICD therapies was noted which persisted for the duration of the test,” reads the study. “This was reproduced multiple times with different positions of the phone over the pocket.”

Device Programmer showing suspension of ICD therapies (orange bar, red arrow) with iPhone 12 laying over patient’s chest (green arrow) and Fluoroscopy of iPhone 12 showing the circular magnet array (yellow arrow). Image – Heart Rhythm Journal.

Both Apple and the Heart Rhythm Society recommend consulting a doctor or physician as well as your ICD manufacturer for specific guidelines.

“If you suspect iPhone or any MagSafe accessories are interfering with your medical device, stop using your iPhone or MagSafe accessories,” Apple wrote.

This is not a good look for Apple and we hope that the next generation of iPhones takes the risks of magnets meeting ICDs a bit more seriously.

[Via – MacRumors]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.

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