Earlier in January, a medical study done by the Heart Rhythm Society (first spotted by MacMagazine) suggested the iPhone 12 and MagSafe accessories can interfere with medical devices — such as defibrillators and pacemakers. Now, a few weeks after the study was published, Apple has updated its support documentation with more information related to the issue.
In case you’re unfamiliar, Apple first announced that its MagSafe technology was included in the iPhone 12 at an October 2020 hardware event. Basically, each of the new iPhones comes with an array of magnets around the wireless charging coils, allowing you to clip it onto any of Apple’s new wireless “MagSafe” chargers.
As 9to5Mac noted, Apple never denied claims that the iPhone 12 line poses a risk of interfering with medical devices (such as pacemakers). But in its support document, the company does say:
Although all iPhone 12 models contain more magnets than previous iPhone models, they are not expected to present a greater risk of magnetic interference with medical devices than previous iPhone models.
Since the study, MacRumors points out that Apple has updated the document to include a bit more information in terms of how to keep sensors on the iPhone 12 and MagSafe accessories from impacting pacemakers and defibrillators.
Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact. To avoid any potential interactions with these devices, keep your iPhone and MagSafe accessories a safe distance away from your device (more than 6 inches / 15 cm apart or more than 12 inches / 30 cm apart if wirelessly charging).
The document also mentions both the MagSafe Charger and the MagSafe Duo specifically, confirming that while all MagSafe accessories contain magnets, the “MagSafe Charger and MagSafe Duo Charger contain radios. These magnets and electromagnetic fields might interfere with medical devices.”
But Apple’s confirmation shouldn’t be the ultimate call. The company also makes it clear that anyone with a medical device, and iPhone 12 or MagSafe accessory, should consult their physician or medical device manufacturer as well.