iPhone 12 magnet can interfere with heart implants, researchers say

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An array of magnets in Apple's newest iPhone model may interfere with the function of heart implants like defibrillators and pacemakers, the Miami Herald reports. 

The Herald cited a study published Jan. 4 in Heart Rhythm that found the high-voltage shock therapy function of a patient's defibrillator was suspended when the iPhone 12 was in close proximity to the left side of the chest. 

An array of magnets inside the iPhone 12 supports compatibility with its MagSafe wireless chargers, and when an external magnet is brought in close contact to a heart implant such as a defibrillator, its function can be suspended, according to the study. Researchers added that this can happen accidentally when a user carries the phone in their upper pocket, for example. 

In a Jan. 23 statement cited by the Herald, Apple said while the iPhone 12 models contain more magnets than older models, they're not expected to pose a greater risk, adding, "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." 

"Medical device manufacturers and implanting physicians should remain vigilant in making patients aware of this significant interaction of the iPhone 12 and other smart wearables with their cardiac implantable electronic devices," researchers from the Heart Rhythm study concluded.  

More articles on cardiology:

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Mind, body connection important for heart health, AHA says
Women vulnerable to sudden cardiac death overnight, study finds

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