It’s been discovered that the magnets in an iPad Smart Cover are strong to deactivate implanted heart defibrillators, according to a 14-year-old student who discovered the findings during her science fair project. Since then, the student has received a lot of attention from medical professionals and will even speak in front of 8,000 doctors in Denver for the Heart Rhythm Society.
Gianna Chien, who is a high school freshmen in Stockton, California discovered that if you lay the iPad face down on your chest while you’re laying down to take a quick snooze, the magnets in the Smart Cover can get close enough to the heart to cause implanted defibrillators to malfunction and shut off without warning.
However, defibrillators are designed to be turned off by magnets in the first place as a safety precaution, with the assumption that there’s no reason to have magnets close to your chest except to purposely turn off the defibrillator, but it’s easy when you’re laying down to simply rest an iPad on your chest while you take a nap.
Based on a past teardown of the iPad Smart Cover, there’s a total of 21 magnets, with four used to hold the Smart Cover to the iPad, eleven holding the Smart Cover in its triangular stand position, and a single magnet which flicks the iPad 2 in and out of standby mode. According to Chien’s experiment, around 30% of the 26 patients she tried it on had their defibrillators messed with. As for Apple addressing this issue, we could very well be hearing from them, but for the time being, let your grandparents know about this issue if they have a newer iPad with a Smart Cover.