Apple is currently warning customers that its smartphones could potentially interfere with certain medical devices, including pacemakers. In a notice published on Apple’s support page, the company expanded upon previously issued safety warnings against holding your iPhone close to pacemakers or defibrillators due to the fact that the phones contain magnets and radios that emit electromagnetic fields that could “interfere” with the medical devices.
The notice specifically warns users about “the magnets inside all four iPhone 12 models, as well as MagSafe accessories. iPhone 12 versions contain more magnets than prior iPhone models, but they don’t pose a greater risk of magnetic interference with medical devices than earlier models.”
In the update Apple explained that medical devices such as pacemakers contain sensors that could react to magnet or radio waves that come in extremely close proximity to it. The company recommends keeping iPhone’s and MagSafe chargers at a “safe distance away from medical devices, which would be at more than 6 inches apart, or 15 inches apart when wirelessly charging.”
When Apple initially announced the iPhone 12 last fall, they also unveiled the return of MagSafe charging for the iPhone and wireless charging docks that would allow users to charge their devices more easily. Other magnetic accessories such as cases and wallets were also released and meant to attach to the back of the phones.
Apple didn’t respond to questions over why it was specifically expanding upon their safety guidelines now, however, many believe it’s due to the fact that the Heart Rhythm Journal released a report earlier this month that claimed the magnets in the iPhone 12 that make it compatible with MagSafe accessories could interfere with an implanted defibrillator.
These warnings, however, aren’t that new within the medical community. Health experts have always cautioned patients with implanted medical devices not to hold cell phones too close to where the implantation is; this was in response to a slew of individuals who held their smartphones in their front shirt pocket.
Apple warned in the notice that users should “consult your physician and medical device manufacturer for information specific to your medical device and whether you need to maintain a safe distance of separation between your medical device and iPhone or any MagSafe accessories. Manufacturers often provide recommendations on the safe use of their devices around wireless or magnetic products to prevent possible interference.”
Apple also said if a user feels like any of their devices are interfering with their medical implantation’s then they should immediately stop using their phone or MagSafe accessory and speak with a physician. Another warning issued by the company claimed that iPhone 12 users specifically should avoid placing credit cards, security badges, or passports between your phone and MagSafe charger, as the magnets could damage the magnetic strips and readers on those items.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.