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Apple warns iPhone 12 owners to keep them away from medical devices

If you have an iPhone 12 or MagSafe accessories, or are considering purchasing either/both, be aware that they could interfere with medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators.

That’s the warning Apple has reiterated on a new official support page, informing customers of risks associated with the magnets and electromagnetic fields contained in all four iPhone 12 models and MagSafe accessories such as the MagSafe Charger and MagSafe Duo.

“Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact,” Apple wrote on the support page.

While prior iPhone models also contain magnets, the iPhone 12 contains more than the previous standards. Despite this, Apple said “they’re not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models.”

The multinational technology company is recommending that customers keep the devices and accessories a “safe distance” from medical devices. More specifically, “more than 6 inches / 15 cm apart or more than 12 inches / 30 cm apart if wirelessly charging.”

Apple is also suggesting that individuals with medical devices first consult physicians and medical device manufacturers for specific guidelines and to know whether or not they need to maintain a distance. Furthermore, “If you suspect iPhone or any MagSafe accessories are interfering with your medical device, stop using your iPhone or MagSafe accessories.”

The Heart Rhythm Society earlier this month published a study showcasing the “possible device-device interaction” that can occur. Testing for interference with one particular patient fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), they found that “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. This was reproduced multiple times with different positions of the phone over the pocket.”

Part of the study’s conclusion reads: “We hereby bring an important public health issue concerning the newer generation iPhone 12 which can potentially inhibit lifesaving therapy in a patient particularly while carrying the phone in upper pockets.”

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