Many people are wary of the harmful effect on the brain of electromagnetic waves emitted by latest generation smartphones, especially since the arrival of the first 5G models. But there is a different health risk, that of interference with medical electronic devices. According to a new study, placing an iPhone 12 on an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) can go as far as blocking its operation. However, the new iPhone wouldn’t be the only one with this dangerous power.
According to the study, published in the journal Heart Rhythm Last week, this effect was due to the magnetic field emitted by the Apple device’s MagSafe charging system, a magnetic matrix on the back of the device designed to facilitate wireless charging.
Partially expected, though alarmingly, researchers at the Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute found that the circular array of rare earth magnets around a central charging coil of the iPhone 12 was capable to completely suspend the operations of an implantable defibrillator of the Medtronic brand. These magnets help to properly align the device with a wireless charger and other peripheral accessories, and increase the speed of wireless charging.
« After the iPhone was placed near the implanted defibrillator on the left chest, there was an immediate suspension of the implanted defibrillator therapies, which persisted throughout the test. Can we read in the document. ” This has been reproduced several times with different positions of the phone above the pocket ».
« We thus raise an important public health issue regarding the new generation of iPhone, which can potentially inhibit a patient’s life therapy, especially when the phone is in the upper pockets. », Conclude the researchers.
Apple already has published documentation admitting that magnets and electromagnetic fields emanating from their iPhones can interfere with medical devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators. Additionally, some devices are designed to emit a tone when a magnet affects their operation.
What the study does not prove, however, is whether it is the iPhone 12 in particular that is causing the problem. Indeed, the researchers also discovered that other devices, like fitness trackers, could have a similar effect on pacemakers. For its part, Apple maintains that “although all iPhone 12 models contain more magnets than previous models, they should not present a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than previous models of iPhone ”. An assertion that remains to be proven.