The iPhone 12 magnets have recently been in discussion, after a recent study highlighted that the new generation smartphones from Apple have stronger magnets inside than before to enable better wireless charging, which in turn may interfere with lifesaving pacemaker implants in people with cardiac troubles. After Apple issued a statement about it suggesting individuals with pacemakers and defibrillators to keep their phones away from their chest pockets, a new study headed by cardiologist Gurjit Singh at the Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute has found that an iPhone 12 Pro kept near a pacemaker can actually disable it, and the iPhone 12 magnets are to be blamed.
In the study, now published in the Heart Rhythm Journal, Singh and his colleagues passed an Apple iPhone 12 Pro over a patient with a pacemaker implant, and found that keeping the smartphone near the heart implant actually caused it to stop. The apparent reason behind this appears to be electromagnetic interference, brought about by the stronger set of magnets sitting inside all of the new iPhone 12 lineup of phones. As the study explains, “All ICDs have an in-built switch that responds to an externally applied magnetic field. When an external magnet is applied to a defibrillator, high-voltage shock therapy for ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation is suspended.”
In simpler words, the iPhone 12 magnets are strong enough to interfere with the natural electromagnetic field caused by pacemakers and similar heart implants that are critical lifesaving treatments for those with cardiac ailments. Unless informed accordingly, those keeping their iPhone 12 devices in chest pockets may potentially face severe, life-threatening consequences as the pacemaker in question may stop operating, albeit intermittently. Singh also found in his study that once the iPhone 12 was removed from near the pacemaker, the implant started working normally again.
In an attempt to alert users about this debacle, Singh wrote in his report, “We hereby report an important public health issue concerning the newer-generation iPhone 12, which potentially can inhibit lifesaving therapy in a patient, particularly when the phone is carried in an upper chest pocket. Medical device manufacturers and implanting physicians should remain vigilant about making patients aware of this significant interaction of the iPhone 12 and other smart wearables with their cardiac implantable electronic devices.”
Apple does not appear to have issued a new statement responding to the findings of this study. However, its support documents for the iPhone 12 series smartphones already state that the iPhone 12 magnets may interfere with lifesaving implants, and suggests users to keep their phones well away from their hearts. The iPhone 12 magnets are used by Apple to offer better, superior wireless charging abilities and a new generation of ‘MagSafe’ accessories. However, the cost of the new technology may turn out to be quite heavy, so users are advised to read with caution and proceed accordingly, especially if they already have heart ailments.