iPhone 12, MagSafe could interfere with pacemakers

Although it was quite late to jump on the wireless charging bandwagon, Apple's implementation did eventually introduce an element that, truth be told, should have become standard in almost all wireless charging systems today. Just like many of its small but significant conveniences, Apple used magnets to bring a bit of stability when wirelessly charging the iPhone 12. Impressive as it may be, the iPhone 12 and its matching MagSafe accessories had one side effect that may have gone unnoticed until recently.

Magnets are, of course, not without their positive and negative effects. The latter often involves other objects and devices that may also be dependent on magnetism or can be adversely affected by it. The worst-case scenario might happen when magnets interfere with life-saving implanted devices, namely pacemakers and defibrillators.

Almost all smartphones give off electromagnetic radiation due to their very nature but there is something special about the iPhone 12. Those are the magnets that are there specifically to hold MagSafe chargers and accessories in place. While Apple insists that the iPhone 12 doesn't pose a greater risk of magnetic interference compared to older iPhones, it still updated its support documents to warn users about it.

This update came after a medical journal published doctors' observations of how the iPhone 12 may accidentally inhibit lifesaving therapy from these implanted medical devices. Specifically, they tested the phone put a patient's cardioverter defibrillator into suspend mode just by being near it. Apple's updated document now advises people to keep their iPhones at least 6 inches away from pacemakers and the like when in use.

The warning also affects MagSafe accessories and especially MagSafe chargers. In fact, Apple extends the recommended safe distance to 12 inches when the iPhone 12 is charging wirelessly. While most people will probably stash or use their iPhones at that distance anyway, it should serve as an important and critical warning for those with implanted medical devices that tend to hold their iPhones close to their hearts, literally.