Apple updates its safety information to warn users with pacemakers about the potential increased risks of using MagSafe
With the launch of the iPhone 12 series, Apple decided to re-brand its MagSafe technology as a new ultra-thin wireless-charging system that entails extra magnets in the new devices - as well as the chargers and even the first-party cases of the name - in order to work. This caused a group of doctors to test the effect of this new system on an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device, more often known as a pacemaker.
They found that bringing a 12-series device close to the ICD located in an actual patient caused the implant to go into a "suspended" mode, an issue that persisted until the phone was taken away again. Therefore, the doctors published their conclusions, along with a public health warning against using MagSafe while in possession of a pacemaker, in the January 2021 edition of Heart Rhythm Journal.
Then again, these potentially negative effects on pacemakers have been linked to other wireless-charging devices or accessories in the past. Nevertheless, Apple has ensured clarity in this situation by specifying a new minimum safe distance between iPhone 12 or MagSafe accessories and pacemakers.
The OEM asserts that, while MagSafe should be no more dangerous than older Apple products with wireless charging, a user with a pacemaker would benefit from keeping an iPhone 12 or a MagSafe-enabled product at least 6 inches (~15cm) away from the implant's location at all times.
However, if this kind of charging is actually in use, this distance should increase to at least 12 inches (~30cm) for the duration. Patients with pacemakers or similar devices might also need to consult their specialist should they own (or plan to own) a MagSafe-enabled product.