Almost all electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields when in use but the iPhone 12 series is special in that it actually contains magnets inside. These are used to support Apple’s new generation of MagSafe wireless charging but it may also have some effect on objects and devices that rely on magnetism to function correctly. Apple already issued a warning about the phones’ electromagnetic interference but insisted that it doesn’t carry more risk than any other iPhone before it, something that cardiologists discovered might not be the case.
Cardiologist Gurjit Singh and his colleagues at the Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute published a report last month and have now revealed their findings that may raise more concerns over the iPhone 12. That is, at least for users with implanted medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators. Unfortunately, simply passing an iPhone 12 over a patient’s chest could already have dangerous effects.
According to the doctors’ experiments, the iPhone 12 deactivated the defibrillator just by passing over it. In the case of a pacemaker, it could cause the device to send an electrical charge and make the heart go out of sync, something it normally does when an irregular rhythm is detected to put the heart back in sync. These devices are actually designed to be controlled by magnets so that doctors won’t have to open patients up again and again for that purpose.
Unfortunately, the numbers that the doctors present raise the stakes even higher. According to Dr. Singh, about 300,000 people in the US get these devices implanted each year. Coupled with reports that one out of four phones sold last year was an iPhone 12, the chances of these phones ending up in people with implanted medical devices are also high.
Apple did publish an advisory on far users with such implants should use their iPhones, though it might always reach the people who do need to know about it. The FDA was reportedly already informed about the matter but neither it nor Apple has made any comments on the findings.