Apple has expanded its guidelines on potential magnetic interference from its gadgets with medical devices. In the last few days it is published a long and detailed list of products that it says should be kept a “safe distance” from medical equipment.
In a support article, Apple acknowledged that magnets and electromagnetic fields can interfere with medical devices under certain conditions. As an example, it said that implanted pacemakers and defibrillators could contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact. The effect of the company’s products on medical devices that make it mentioned, has been a cause for concern in recent months and initiated research on the subject.
“To avoid potential interactions with these types of medical devices, keep your Apple product a safe distance from your medical device (more than 6 inches or more than 30 cm for wireless charging),” Apple said. “Contact your doctor and device manufacturer for specific guidelines.”
This is no small matter. In January, Researcher at the Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute that they places an iPhone 12 over a patient’s heart with a Medtronic implanted Cardioverter defibrillator. They reported that the operation of the device was suspended each time. Although the study was conducted on a single patient, it raises important questions. Recently a study of the American Heart Association examines the effects of an iPhone 12 Pro Max on a larger scale with different devices, whereby several of the tested devices showed a “magnetic susceptibility”.
Apple added in the support article that if a person suspects their Apple product is interfering with their medical advice, they should Immediately stop using the device and contact your doctor and manufacturers of medical devices.
Below is the detailed list of Apple products that Apple notes contain magnets that the company says should be kept a safe distance from your medical device.
AirPods and charging case
- AirPods and charging case
- AirPods and wireless charging case
- AirPods Pro and wireless charging case
- AirPods Max and Smart Case
Apple Watch and accessories
- Apple Watch
- Apple Watch bracelets with magnets
- Apple Watch magnetic charging accessory
iPad and accessories
- Ipad mini
- iPad Air
- iPad Pro
- iPad Smart Covers and Smart Folios
- iPad Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio
- Magic keyboard for iPad
iPhone and MagSafe accessories
- iPhone 12 models
- MagSafe accessories
Mac and accessories
- Mac mini
- Mac Pro
- MacBook Air
- Macbook Pro
- Apple Pro Display XDR
- Beats Flex
- Beats X
- PowerBeats Pro
However, these aren’t the only Apple products that contain magnets. The company said certain other Apple products contain magnets, but they are unlikely to interfere with medical devices. Users can find more information about these other products in Apple’s User guides for its products.
Interestingly, as discovered by MacRumors, Apple made no specific reference to its iPhone 12 range. In one January support article, Apple said that while the iPhone 12 series had more magnets than previous iPhone series, it was “not expected” to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than previous models. This language was missing from this updated support article.
It should be said thathe is not an Apple-specific problem. Many devices, from radios and headphones to Fitbits and vape pens, are known to cause magnetic interference. The Food and Drug Administration recognizes this too and advises people to stay on the safe side Consumer electronic devices, such as certain cell phones and smartwatches, are at least 15 inches away from implanted medical devices.
It is important for Apple to educate its consumers with medical devices about the possible effects of its products. However, when looking at mankind’s pursuit of continuous technological innovation, Magnets won’t go away. Medical device manufacturers need to think seriously about addressing these issues in their products as well, or maybe even partnering with players like Apple to work together on solutions to keep those at risk safe.