Apple this week released some clarifications on its support documents to address consumer concerns. Since the MagSafe Magnetic System is present in the new iPhones, it is not particularly safe when placed near an ICD or pacemaker.
Apple’s updated warning repeats previous claims that keeping any iPhone within ten centimeters of the ICD or pacemaker is not safe. The warning also states that the iPhone 12 is not more dangerous specifically than other models just because it uses a magnetic charging system.
Several weeks ago, Heart Rhythm Journal published test results in which it repeatedly found that the iPhone 12’s proximity with MagSafe to a patient’s ICD and ICD interferes with the operation of the life-saving device. After this report, tech enthusiasts visited forums, Twitter, and Reddit to spread the false news that the iPhone 12 was especially dangerous for people using pacemakers due to the introduction of the MagSafe system. However, the magazine did not mention the truth of this Modern smartphones already contain magnets and have always sent out signals requiring users with ICDs or pacemakers to keep phones several inches away from medical devices, even before MagSafe was introduced to the iPhone line in 2020.
In other words, it is not safe to keep the iPhone 12 close to these medical devices, but it was not safe to keep the iPhone 11, iPhone X, or any other smartphone either. In updating its support document, Apple claims the iPhone 12’s MagSafe feature doesn’t change its warning.
This is what the company reported verbatim:
IPhone contains magnets, components, and radio systems that emit electromagnetic fields. All MagSafe accessories (sold separately) also contain magnets, and the MagSafe charger and MagSafe Duo charger contain radio systems. These magnets and electromagnetic fields can interfere with medical devices. While all iPhone 12 models contain more magnets than previous iPhone models, they are not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than previous iPhone models.
Medical devices such as pacemakers and implantable defibrillators may contain sensors that can interfere with magnets and radio systems when in close contact. To avoid potential interactions with these devices, it is recommended to keep iPhone and MagSafe accessories at a safe distance from the device (more than 15 cm or more than 30 cm if charging wirelessly). Consult your doctor and the device manufacturer for specific instructions.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, MagSafe is a new iPhone feature that allows, among other things, devices to magnetically attach themselves to a small wireless charging pad. This magnetic alignment allows for better charging speeds than previous iPhone models.
MagSafe was previously offered on Mac as well, albeit in a slightly different way. Recent reports indicate that it may soon be returning to Macs.