Apple has issued a warning saying that the magnets in MagSafe could potentially affect medical devices such as pacemakers. The company advises users to keep the device at least 15 centimetres away from their chest.
In a document posted on Apple’s support page, the company says the iPhone contains “magnets as well as components and radios that emit electromagnetic fields”. Such components are also found in the MagSafe and MagSafe Duo. Apple warns that these magnets and electromagnetic fields can cause interference with medical devices.
The company expects that although there are more magnets in the iPhone 12 than in previous iPhones, the risks are no greater than with older models. Still, the company recommends that an iPhone 12 or MagSafe device be kept at least 15 centimetres away from medical devices. When charging wirelessly with the device, Apple recommends a distance of 30 centimetres.
With the release of the iPhone 12, Apple brought its MagSafe technology back to the phone. Basically, it consists of the ability to use induction to charge the phone wirelessly. This was already possible in previous iPhones, but some extra magnets the phone makes sure that the phone remains aligned with the charger. It also allows the charger to remain attached to the phone when the user picks it up.
Apple initially only introduced MagSafe in its laptops, starting with the MacBook Pro in 2006. Because the laptop charger was not held in place by friction, but by a magnet, it was less securely attached to the laptop. The advantage of this was that the laptop would not immediately be pulled off the table if someone tripped over the cable.
In recent years, Apple has phased out the technology in its laptops in favour of USB-C. This universal connection allowed Apple to combine charging the laptop and connecting peripherals into one port. Unfortunately, this also meant that MagSafe was no longer possible.
Yet Apple seems to be working of the return of MagSafe for its laptops. There are rumours that the company is planning to announce both a new MacBook Air and a new MacBook Pro later this year, both equipped with a MagSafe connector. What those will look like is not yet known.