WARNING: iPhones "might interfere with medical devices" says Apple

iPhone 12 health warning

Apple has issued a warning that iPhones and MagSafe accessories "might interfere with medical devices" due to the electromagnetic fields, magnets and radios generated by and contained in the products. 

The manufacturer notes that iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, as well as the base and Mini all feature more magnets than previous iPhones. And MagSafe accessories are, obviously, based on magnetic technology. 

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Magnets, electromagnetic fields and radios do not play well with medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators, prompting Apple to issue a specific warning related to the iPhone 12 family and MagSafe accessories.

At the same time, the manufacturer notes that the iPhone 12 is "not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models" – though clearly there was some impetus to issue this new product warning, along with an update to the existing iPhone safety information page.

It appears that this could be a response to a recent report by the Heart Rhythm Journal (spotted by 7 News), claiming that the increased number of magnets in iPhone 12 models (to provide support for MagSafe) could cause problems with implanted defibrillators. 

The full statement from Apple is as follows:

About the magnets inside iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and MagSafe accessories

iPhone contains magnets as well as components and radios that emit electromagnetic fields. All MagSafe accessories (each sold separately) also contain magnets—and MagSafe Charger and MagSafe Duo Charger contain radios. These magnets and electromagnetic fields might interfere with medical devices. 

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.

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). But consult with your physician and your device manufacturer for specific guidelines.

Consult your physician and medical device manufacturer for information specific to your medical device and whether you need to maintain a safe distance of separation between your medical device and iPhone or any MagSafe accessories. Manufacturers often provide recommendations on the safe use of their devices around wireless or magnetic products to prevent possible interference. If you suspect iPhone or any MagSafe accessories are interfering with your medical device, stop using your iPhone or MagSafe accessories.

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.