iPhone 12 doesn’t play nice with pacemakers, Apple confirms

Apple iPhone 12
(Image credit: Apple)

If you're one of the 1.5 million Americans who have a pacemaker or defibrillator device, pay special attention. Apple's latest flagship iPhone 12 may interfere with your medical device due in part to the extra magnets in the unit used for the MagSafe feature.

Apple recently released this statement as part of a support document. "Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact. To avoid any potential interactions with these devices, keep your iPhone and MagSafe accessories a safe distance away from your device (more than 6 inches / 15 cm apart or more than 12 inches / 30 cm apart if wirelessly charging). But consult with your physician and your device manufacturer for specific guidelines."

Although Apple seems to downplay the issue, the company also stated, "All MagSafe accessories (each sold separately) contain magnets — and MagSafe Charger and MagSafe Duo Charger contain radios. These magnets and electromagnetic fields might interfere with medical devices."  

So either it's a real issue or, it's kinda, sorta, maybe, possibly, an issue. When it comes to your health, it's something to be aware of, especially if you depend on a pacemaker to help you stay alive. 

A recent article published by researchers in Heart Rhythm Journal stated, "The first author (Joshua C. Greenberg, M.D) raised concerns for possible device-device interaction due to the presence of a strong magnetic array in the iPhone and MagSafe compatible cases. 

The researchers conducted a test on a patient with an ICD, or an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. When the iPhone 12 neared the device, the ICD therapy stopped working for the duration of the test. The conclusion? "iPhone 12 which can potentially inhibit lifesaving therapy" when the device is placed in upper pockets. 

Overall, nobody is directly saying you shouldn't own an iPhone 12, they're just precautioning you if you choose to do so, it's probably a smart idea not to have it in a shirt pocket and to keep it at a safe distance when you do use it. 

Mark Anthony Ramirez

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.