iPhone 12: Magsafe charger worries cardiologists, it can deactivate pacemakers

Can the iPhone’s MagSafe charger pose a risk to cardiac people with a pacemaker? The answer is yes, according to a study in the medical journal HearthRythm.

iphone pacemaker
Credits: Pixabay & Apple

During its presentation in October 2020, the iPhone 12 caused a sensation including a new wireless charger: the MagSafe. This accessory attaches directly to the smartphone and, thanks to magnets, keeps the device in line to optimize charging. Apple’s latest smartphone is also equipped with magnets and components that emit electromagnetic fields to be able to use MagSafe.

In fact, the medical profession quickly expressed its concerns about the risks of magnetic interference between the iPhone 12, the MagSafe and pacemakers, better known under the name of pacemaker. Legitimate fears, knowing that the MagSafe posed several problems after its launch, in particular by demagnetizing the credit cards of several users.

Magnets, the main danger for pacemakers

However, Heart Rythm, a medical journal specializing in cardiac arrhythmia has decided to look into the subject and has just published its first study this Thursday, January 14, 2021. Suffice to say that the fears of many cardiologists were founded. You may know this, but pacemakers contain a built-in switch that can react to outside electromagnetic fields.

When a magnet is held close enough to a pacemaker, the latter can simply be deactivated. It suffices for this that the magnetic field is greater than 10 Gauss. To give you an idea, the magnetic field of an MRI is between 15,000 and 30,000 Gauss.

iphone pacemaker
Credit: Heart Rythm

The pacemaker stops when approaching an iPhone 12

Based on this observation, the Heart Rythm teams performed a test on a patient fitted with a MedTronic pacemaker, a brand specializing in the manufacture of medical devices. Once the iPhone 12 is placed on the patient’s chest and near the pacemaker, Heart Rythm has noticed a complete shutdown of the device, and this for the duration of the test.

With this study, Heart Rythm ensures “raise an important public health issue regarding the iPhone 12s which can potentially inhibit patients’ pacemakers, including carrying the smartphone in the top pockets. Contemporary studies have shown minimal risk of electromagnetic interference with pacemakers and smartphones without a magnetic matrix [….] Medical device manufacturers and physicians should remain vigilant and educate patients about this important interaction between iPhone 12 and other devices (ndrl: in this case the MagSafe) and their pacemaker ”, Heart Rythm concludes.

Source: Heart Rythm