Apple Lists More Products That Could Interfere With Cardiac Devices

Patrice Wendling

June 29, 2021

Apple has expanded the number of its products that should be kept "a safe distance" from cardiac devices because of the potential for electromagnetic interference.

A support document now lists a wide range of products, including AirPods, Apple Watches, HomePods, iPads, Beats, Mac computers, iPhone 12 models, and MagSafe accessories.

The Cupertino, California–based company notes that these specific products contain magnets and that, "under certain conditions, magnets and electromagnetic fields might interfere with medical devices. For example, implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact."

The support document follows a study reported earlier this month, in which the iPhone 12 Pro Max with MagSafe technology, designed to optimize wireless charging, interfered with cardiac implantable electronic devices when tested in vivo and ex vivo, with differences observed in susceptibility between cardiac devices.

Following other published reports of potential electromagnetic interference, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory in May, stating that "cell phones do not seem to pose a significant health problem for pacemaker wearers," but that patients should avoid carrying a phone directly over an implantable device.

The new support document, published June 25 and first spotted by MacRumors, also advises customers keep their "Apple product a safe distance away from your medical device (more than 6 inches/15 cm apart or more than 12 inches/ 30 cm apart if wirelessly charging)."

"If you suspect that your Apple product is interfering with your medical device, stop using your Apple product and consult your physician and your medical-device manufacturer," it says.

The specific products cited by Apple are:

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

  • HomePod 

  • HomePod mini

iPad and accessories

  • iPad

  • 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

  • iMac

  • Apple Pro Display XDR

Beats

  • Beats Flex

  • Beats X

  • PowerBeats Pro

  • UrBeats3

The support document makes no mention of the iPhone 12/MagSafe safety studies, but notes that "certain other Apple products contain magnets that are unlikely to interfere with medical devices."

Apple also noted that more safety information is available in the Important Safety Information sections of the user guides for Apple products.

Patrice Wendling is an award-winning senior journalist for Medscape, focusing on cardiology, and can be reached at pwendling@medscape.net and on Twitter: @pwendl.

For more from theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology, join us on Twitter and Facebook.

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