A rather alarming discovery has been made by a 14-year old, which could affect anyone who happens to have a heart-pacemaker and an iPad Smart Cover.
According to the teen’s discovery, (which surfaced as a result of a science fair project), the magnets contained in Apple’s popular ‘Smart Cover’ accessory could (in some instances) disrupt the workings of a heart-pacing device, and if held close enough for a significant period of time, may cause the device to “shut-off.”
Specifically referring to the iPad 2, the study notes that “if a person falls asleep with the iPad 2 on [their] chest,” the magnets in the cover can “accidentally turn off the heart device.”
Speaking as someone who has a brother with a heart pacemaker, this was initially extremely alarming — and had me checking with my brother to see if he is actively using his iPad Smart Cover at college.
However, taking a step back from the headline for a moment, I realized that any magnets could essentially cause this effect – (providing they were strong enough). This is a fact our family has been aware of for some time, considering my brother’s condition (which he has had since birth).
Gianna Chien, a high-school freshman from Stockton, California and the original person to bring such an issue to light, says that “[she] definitely think[s] people should be aware” of this fact.
“That’s why I’m presenting the study,” she concludes.
Not to cause panic unintentionally, though, the study makes sure to stress that the magnets in Apple’s Smart Cover would not necessarily be able to “shut off” pacemaker devices under normal use, but may be able to in a situation where the pacing device is in close-distance exposure of the magnets for an extended period of time.