In a support document updated this week, Apple shared a list of products that should be kept a safe distance away from medical devices, such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators, due to potential magnetic interference.
To avoid any potential interference with medical devices, Apple says to keep the products listed below a safe distance away from medical devices — more than six inches apart or more than 12 inches apart if the Apple product is wirelessly charging. Apple says to consult with a physician and the device manufacturer for specific guidelines.
AirPods and charging cases
• AirPods and Charging Case
• AirPods and Wireless Charging Case
• AirPods Pro and Wireless Charging Case
• AirPods Max and Smart Case
Apple Watch and accessories
• Apple Watch
• Apple Watch bands with magnets
• Apple Watch magnetic charging accessories
• HomePod mini
iPad and accessories
• iPad mini
• iPad Air
• iPad Pro
• iPad Smart Covers and Smart Folios
• iPad Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio
• Magic Keyboard for iPad
iPhone and MagSafe accessories
• iPhone 12 models
• MagSafe accessories
Mac and accessories
• Mac mini
• Mac Pro
• MacBook Air
• MacBook Pro
• Apple Pro Display XDR
• Beats Flex
• Beats X
• PowerBeats Pro
Certain other Apple products contain magnets that are unlikely to interfere with medical devices, the support document says.
Earlier this month, the American Heart Association said in a small study of different types of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, 11 of 14 cardiac devices experienced interference when an iPhone 12 Pro Max was held close to the cardiac device (within 1.5 cm), even when the medical device was still in the manufacturer’s sealed package.
“We have always known that magnets can interfere with cardiac implantable electronic devices, however, we were surprised by the strength of the magnets used in the iPhone 12 magnet technology,” said lead study investigator Dr. Michael Wu, a cardiologist at Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brown University. “In general, a magnet can change a pacemaker’s timing or deactivate a defibrillator’s lifesaving functions, and this research indicate the urgency for everyone to be aware that electronic devices with magnets can interfere with cardiac implantable electronic devices.”
In January, research shared in the Heart Rhythm Journal indicated that iPhone 12 models can “potentially inhibit lifesaving therapy in a patient” due to magnetic interference with implantable medical devices. Three doctors in Michigan tested this interaction by holding an iPhone 12 near a patient’s implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which immediately went into a “suspended” state for the duration of the test.
Since the iPhone 12 lineup launched in October, Apple has acknowledged that the devices may cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators. However, in its updated support document published on June 25, Apple no longer states that iPhone 12 models are “not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models.”
Apple provides more information on safety in the Important Safety Information sections of the user guides for Apple products.