June 10, 2021 -- A recent study bolsters existing evidence that powerful magnets in some Apple iPhones can interfere with implantable electronic heart devices.
The small study, published June 2, also suggests some devices may be more susceptible than others.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max with MagSafe technology interfered with devices implanted in three consecutive patients who had heart tests and in 8 of 11 implantable defibrillators and pacemakers still in their original packaging.
The results, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, are consistent with a widely publicized single-patient report this February and evidence of electromagnetic interference with fitness wristbands and e-cigarettes.
The MagSafe technology supports wireless charging and is optimized by a ring-shaped array of magnets. While magnet mode activation has been shown to occur in implantable devices that are exposed to some magnetic fields, the field strength of the iPhone 12 Pro Max can be much greater when in direct contact, the researchers determined.
"If this becomes a standard in a lot of the new smartphones or companies start to use stronger magnets ... then we will see more and more of these consumer electronic and device interactions," senior author Michael Wu, MD, of Brown University in Providence, RI, says.