Apple Updates Magnet Warning For Pacemakers

Apple has updated its support web page which warns people about the issue of magnets in mobile devices, and how they can impact implanted medical devices.

The iPad maker added a number of new Apple products to the warning list, including AirPods and its charging case, Apple Watch, Beats headphones, HomePod, iPads, as well as iPhones.

The issue stems from the fact that magnets and radios emit electromagnetic fields, both of which ‘may interfere’ with medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators.

Magnet issue

An example of this came when a researcher was able, in an experiment, to deactivate a single patient’s implanted defibrillator by holding an iPhone 12 directly over the device.

Apple in January this year then issued a notice on its support pages warning people about the issue of magnets in mobile phones and keeping them away from implanted magnetic devices.

It recommended at the time that iPhones were kept at least six inches away from a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator during normal use.

It also recommended that iPhones were kept a foot away if the device is actively using wireless charging.

Basically, people were told not to fall asleep with an iPhone on their chest if they have an implanted medical device.

Apple in January also specifically warned about the magnets found inside iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and MagSafe accessories.

The iPhone 12 was launched in October 2020, and it included its MagSafe technology, after it was successfully used for MacBook charging cords.

MagSafe uses magnets to allow for easy attachment of accessories and faster wireless charging by ‘snapping’ the two parts together.

Updated guidance

But this week Apple has updated its web support page on the matter, and added a number of new devices that should be kept away from implanted medical devices.

Apple listed which of its devices should be kept a safe distance away from medical devices on its web page, and it recommends people keep Apple devices more than six inches apart, or more than 12 inches apart if the Apple product is wirelessly charging.

Apple also advised people to consult with a doctor and the device manufacturer for specific guidelines.

Apple’s list of devices that should be kept away from implanted medical equipment includes AirPods and charging cases; Apple Watch and accessories; HomePod; iPad and accessories; iPhone 12 and MagSafe accessories; Mac and accessories; and Beats headphones.

Apple’s Siri-powered HomePod Mini

Basically it seems as though most of Apple’s current portfolio of devices are included in the warning, with the odd exception.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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