A list of its products that users should keep at a “safe distance” away from medical devices such as pacemakers and implanted defibrillators was issued by the iPhone maker Apple. The list includes Apple’s models of iPhone 12 models, Apple Watch and MacBook Pro.
Components such as magnets can be found inside many of the consumer electronic devices used by people and such magnets can interfere with the functioning of some medical devices.
There were no additional comments made by Apple which has promoted heart health as one of the salient feature of its products.
An electrocardiogram test can be conducted by some Apple Watches which allows a user to record the timing and strength of the electrical signals that makes the heart beat.
However the latest notice from the company warns of risks posed by components in some products. “Under certain conditions, magnets and electromagnetic fields might interfere with medical devices,” Apple wrote.
For example, it noted, “implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact”.
Abnormal heart rhythms are regulated by implanted defibrillators by sending electrical pulses.
The products listed by Apple should be kept more than 15cm (6in) away from medical devices which is usually double the distance used for wireless charging, the company said.
Similar guidance for some of their products have been issued earlier by a number of other manufacturers, such as Samsung and Huawei.
This latest list was published by Apple on a support page. That very page however had earlier said this month that iPhone 12 models were “not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices” than other iPhones.
But research suggesting that the iPhone 12 could interfere with implanted devices was frust highlighted in a report published by the website MacRumours which was the first to note the list issued by Apple.
According to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, “Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max MagSafe technology can cause magnet interference”, and consequently had the potential “to inhibit life-saving therapy”.
MagSafe enables fast wireless charging.
While acknowledging the small scale and scope of the study, the lead investigator of the study Dr Michael Wu wrote in a press release that they were surprised by the strength of the magnets in the iPhone 12,
“In general, a magnet can change a pacemaker’s timing or deactivate a defibrillator’s life-saving functions, and this research indicates the urgency for everyone to be aware that electronic devices with magnets can interfere with cardiac implantable electronic devices.”
“These Apple gadgets are generally not emitting large magnetic fields, unlike heavy machinery, big concert speakers or welding equipment that anyone with a pacemaker should be more concerned about getting in close proximity to,” said Marie Moe, a computer security consultant for Mnemonic, who has a pacemaker herself and studies their technology.
The strengths of the magnets as is found in the iPhone 12 has the capacity to only cause the pacemaker to switch into “a kind of safety mode where the pacing is constant” and it can be reverted back to normal functioning if the external device was simply removed, Moe added.
(Adapted from IindiaTimes.com)