If you or someone you know has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), avoid using an iPhone 12 Heart rhythm diaryThe iPhone 12 and its accessories can interfere with the behavior of an ICD and even impair its function.
The study found that several components of the iPhone 12 “may potentially inhibit a patient’s life-saving therapy, especially when the phone is carried in the upper pockets”. This warning applies to all iPhone 12 devices, including the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Max, and iPhone 12 Max Plus. The iPhone 12’s MagSafe accessories are also at risk because of their magnets and NFC radios, especially the MagSafe charger and MagSafe Duo charger.
According to the study, the magnetic charging coils and RF-emitting components in these products are powerful enough to disrupt an ICD’s internal mechanisms that respond to magnetic fields. The researchers observed an immediate interruption of the ICD’s cardiovascular surgery when an iPhone was “brought close to the ICD over the left chest area.” The disturbance “persisted for the duration of the test.”
This carries serious health risks, including the possibility of heart failure or cardiac arrest. In order to educate users about the potential risks, Apple has updated its iPhone 12 Health and safety documentation with new guidelines based on the proposals in the report. Apple now recommends that users keep their iPhone 12 and MagSafe accessories more than 15 cm from their chest and more than 30 cm away when charging their phone wirelessly. Never put your iPhone in the breast pocket of your shirt or jacket.
While these warnings are specific to the iPhone 12 and its magnetic accessories, they are not the only products that can affect medical devices. A similar case study shows that smartwatches and fitness trackers can interfere with ICDs if they are within 1.5 inches of the ICD’s position in a patient’s chest. IPhone 12 interference is more severe – especially with wireless charging – but you should be careful when using smart devices around people with an ICD.
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