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Apple cautions against placing iPhone 12 near a pacemaker

Anyone fitted with a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is likely to already be well versed in the potential dangers of getting close to a powerful magnet.

Still, Apple, keen to keep its customers safe and to avoid some ghastly news headline linked to its products, is cautioning those with an iPhone 12 and any MagSafe accessories to keep them a safe distance away from particular medical implants. This is because the iPhone 12 contains magnets as part of its new MagSafe feature (the iPhone 12 contains more magnets than previous models) as well as components and radios that emit electromagnetic fields. MagSafe accessories also contain magnets, while the MagSafe Charger and the MagSafe Duo Charger contain radios, too.

Apple already had an information page in its online support section about the matter, but MacRumors recently spotted that the tech giant has added new text to further clarify the issue.

“Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact,” the added text says. “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).”

While Apple insists that the iPhone 12 “is not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models,” a recent study reported by the Heart Rhythm Journal discovered that Apple’s new phone could indeed interfere with an ICD if the two devices are in close proximity.

For those with an implanted medical device, the bottom line is if you’re in any doubt about how it might be affected by external forces, Apple advises you to speak with your physician and medical device maker to find out whether you need to maintain any distance between your medical device and your iPhone or any MagSafe accessories. The tech giant adds: “If you suspect iPhone or any MagSafe accessories are interfering with your medical device, stop using your iPhone or MagSafe accessories.”

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Trevor Mogg
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