Earlier this year, we reported on concerns that the MagSafe charging technology in the iPhone 12 models could interfere with pacemakers, defibrillators, and similar medical devices (see “Keep the iPhone 12 and Other Magnet-Bearing Consumer Electronics Away from Implanted Medical Devices,” 25 January 2021). At the time, Apple said:
Though all iPhone 12 models contain more magnets than prior iPhone models, they’re not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models.
Although that text remains intact on the “Important safety information for iPhone” page, Apple has now revised the support document that previously reiterated that advice. In “About potential magnetic interference with medical devices,” Apple continues to acknowledge the possibility of magnetic interference and provides a list of Apple products whose magnets are strong enough to be of concern, including the iPhone 12 and MagSafe accessories, along with some you might not expect, like the Pro Display XDR. It’s a long list, but the key thing to remember is that close contact is what you’re trying to avoid. Apple recommends keeping these products at least 6 inches (15 cm) away from such medical devices or more than 12 inches (30 cm) away if using wireless charging.
What prompted the change? It may have been aimed at heading off criticism. 9to5Mac noted that the American Heart Association reported on a recent study that showed interference between an iPhone 12 Pro Max held close to implantable cardiac devices.
Play it safe. If you have an implanted medical device, keep Apple’s magnet-enhanced products well away. That applies to all sorts of other products that also have magnets—Apple’s not doing anything unusual here. Though the company does love its magnets!