Magnets in iPad discovered to be strong enough to shut off implanted defibrillators

Magnets are bad for implanted defibrillators, this isn't a new discovery. The iPad 2 onwards contains magnets, those little ones around the edges to hold down the Smart Cover and the top of the Smart Case. Combining these two pieces of information, a science project by 14-year-old Gianna Chien has determined that the iPad might not be the best thing to hold close to your chest if you have one of these devices implanted. Bloomberg reports:

If a person falls asleep with the iPad2 on the chest, the magnets in the cover can “accidentally turn off” the heart device, said Chien, a high school freshman in Stockton, California, whose father is a doctor. “I definitely think people should be aware. That’s why I’m presenting the study.”

Implanted defibrillators are designed to turn off in the presence of magnets as a safety precaution, with most turning back on once the magnets have been removed. The ones in the iPad aren't strong enough to cause any issues during regular use, but during the study 30% of participants showed effects when the iPad was held close to their chest.

Initially a project for a county Science Fair, Chien's findings are now being presented to 8,000 doctors at the Heart Rhythm Society in Denver. We're not sure it poses huge cause for widespread medical concerns, as most patients will be aware of the risks surrounding magnets and their implant. If you fall into this category though, maybe don't fall asleep with your iPad on your chest.

Of course, we're not doctors, so if anyone who reads this knows more about it, do please share with us.

Source: Bloomberg

Richard Devine

Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy. Follow him on Twitter and Google+

  • Thank you for the title of your post. When you visit other sites, titles say "iPads kill old people"
  • Yeah...that's not good, or true :)
  • sigh.. poor journalisim what really happened:
  • Most people with pacemakers are aware of the dangers of magnets, as well as other elements to avoid. Most people are similarly aware that iPad smart covers have magnets. But not everybody. While it seems obvious to us, there is a non-trivial number of people who neither know nor care how the "magical" smart covers work, a number that will grow larger as tablets continue their ascendence. I applaud Ms Chen's initiative in formulating this experiment and presenting it to relevant health associations, so that cardiologists can evaluate it further and add it to post-op recommendations and guidelines to patients, if necessasry.
  • How is this news when it's in the freaking iPad User Guide? "iPad has magnets along the left edge of the device and on the right side of the front glass, which may interfere with pacemakers, defibrillators, or other medical devices. The iPad Smart Cover and iPad Smart Case also contain magnets. Maintain at least 6 inches (approximately 15 cm) of separation between your pacemaker or defibrillator and iPad, the iPad Smart Cover, or the iPad Smart Case"
  • Because only slightly more people read the fine print of the User Guide than read the entire text of a EULA before clicking 'accept'
  • Well that proves what you all said in your great sleep video cast. The bed is for sleeping, or fun nothing else. Get that iPad out of there. You do want to wake up after your seven to eight hours of sleep.
  • I can just see this article and responses on the sister site......see,see I told you Apple was trying to kill us......oh boy.