Apple warns iPhone 12 could interfere with pacemakers

There’s a new warning for Apple customers who also depend on life saving medical equipment like pacemakers not to let their iPhone 12 get too close.

The updated phones brought with them a new charging and accessory platform called MagSafe, which also increased the number of magnets in the devices.

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“They’re not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models,” Apple notes on its Australian support website.

The world’s most valuable company said the same thing on its website in the US, but that page has also recently been updated to add a slightly less reassuring note.

“Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact,” Apple warned in an update on Saturday.

“To avoid any potential interactions with these devices, keep your iPhone and MagSafe accessories a safe distance away from your device … but consult with your physician and your device manufacturer for specific guidelines,” the company said.

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The device manufacturer is Apple for the phones themselves, and the company advises that the “safe distance” for customers with pacemakers is “more than 15 centimetres” for the iPhone 12 and “more than 30 centimetres” if it’s wirelessly charging on one of the MagSafe chargers that contains an additional radio as well as magnets.

One pacemaker-user who recently purchased an iPhone 12 Mini told they would no longer be keeping the phone in their front shirt pocket after hearing the new advice.

The update came a few weeks after cardiologists at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital demonstrated an iPhone 12 interfering with a patient’s implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

“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,” the doctors noted in their yet-to-be published correspondence with the scientific journal Heart Rhythm.

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