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Apple updates its safety information to warn users with pacemakers about the potential increased risks of using MagSafe

Even some Apple clear cases have magnets now. (Source: Apple)
Even some Apple clear cases have magnets now. (Source: Apple)
Apple has updated some product safety material found in the Support section of its website to clarify the potential of its new MagSafe feature to interfere with pacemakers. It notes that, while the extra magnetism involved should not make the technology more dangerous than the average wireless-charging device or accessory, a user with a medical device should keep it a certain distance away from the relevant devices.

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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.

Apple MagSafe Clear Cases: now on Amazon

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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 4209 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 01 > Apple updates its safety information to warn users with pacemakers about the potential increased risks of using MagSafe
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-01-26 (Update: 2021-01-26)