Keep iPhone, Apple Watches away from implanted medical devices, FDA says

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The FDA further supported its recommendations that patients keep consumer electronics, such as the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch 6, that may create magnetic interference at least six inches away from implanted medical devices, according to a study published Aug. 25 in Heart Rhythm

Co-authored by four investigators from the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, the study builds on discoveries earlier this year that found the iPhone 12 Pro could provoke "magnet mode" of a Medtronic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. 

When a pacemaker enters magnet mode, it continuously paces without sensing the patient's own heart rhythm, which can lead to symptoms including irregular heartbeat, abnormal heart rhythms or even, in rare cases, more serious harm, the researchers wrote. 

Small, rare-Earth magnets that are increasingly being used in smart watches, headphones, door locks and phone speakers, among other technologies, are strong enough to potentially trigger magnetic interference. For the study, researchers focused on the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch 6 but said the results could be broadly applied to any consumer electronic devices that may create magnetic interference, including other smart watches and cellphones. 

In July, Apple published a list of products, including the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch, that may interfere with medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators.

Click here to view the full study.


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