At the launch of Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup in October, Apple warned that the handsets could cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators. The company has now provided additional information.
Apple recently added the following paragraph to a related support document:
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.
The support document emphasizes that accessories, including the MagSafe Charger and MagSafe Duo Charger, may interfere with medical devices:
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.
Apple says that even though iPhone 12 models contain more magnets than previous iPhone models, the are “not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models.”
A January 4, 2021 article in the Heart Rhythm Journal indicated that iPhone 12 models can “potentially inhibit lifesaving therapy in a patient” due to magnetic interference with implantable medical devices. Doctors in the study brought an iPhone 12 “close to the ICD over the left chest area, immediate suspension of ICD therapies was noted which persisted for the duration of the test.”
“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,” the doctors wrote. “Medical device manufacturers and implanting physicians should remain vigilant in making patients aware of this significant interaction of the iPhone 12 and other smart wearables with their cardiac implantable electronic devices.”
More information on this subject is available in the “Important safety information for iPhone” section of the iPhone User Guide.