8 Replies Latest reply: Dec 2, 2013 3:44 AM by Simon Slavin
adharvey Level 1 (0 points)

Are the magnets in the Ipad Air as strong as the ones in the Ipad 2?  My daughter has a brain shunt and research has shown if she gets close enough to an Ipad 2, the magnets could reprogram her shunt.  As her school district is getting 1:1 ipads for teachers and students, this is rather important to me.

iPad 2
  • carl wolf Level 6 (14,625 points)

    The research that you quoted was published more than a year ago, and the referencing article now has the disclaimer:


    "Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional."


    Further, the article detailed the original situation as: "a 4-month-old patient with hydrocephalus was found to have a shunt malfunction three weeks after getting one implanted..."


    As the disclaimer noted, you should speak with your daughter's health care professional.


    On a further note, found out the above information with a quick one-minute search of Google.  I'm curious why you didn't do that and, if you did, why you didn't contact the appropriate doctor, rather than posting a question and then hoping for the best.

  • adharvey Level 1 (0 points)

    Wow.  Where to begin?  First off, with each successive release of an upgraded Ipad, I have done the research.  The only research I could find concerned the Ipad 2.  No literature on the Ipad 3, the mini, or the Air.  Your reply (which comes off pretty condescending in tone, by the way- seriously, go back and read my original post, then read yours) failed to answer my original question, which I will restate now:  Are the magnets in the Ipad Air as strong as the ones in the Ipad 2?  The original Ipad was safe for my daughter to use.  The Ipad 2 wasn't.  You only responded to the reason I posted the question in the first place.  Perhaps the reason the facts and conclusions are out of date is that there are upgrades to the Ipad that have been released, and no research has been done on those?



    Also, did you really assume that I would only post my question here and not look anywhere else?  Shockingly, I thought that a community of Apple users/employees might be a good place to look for answers.  If my question concerning Ipads and my daughter's safety is going to be met with condescending rudeness, then that's fine, I won't burden this fine collective again.

  • carl wolf Level 6 (14,625 points)

    "Where to begin?"


    Did you speak with your daughter's health care professional?

  • adharvey Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, I have.  After the release of each new Ipad.  Again, no published research on any Ipads beyond the Ipad 2.  So his response was "Just don't let her near one.  Better safe than sorry."  This strategy will be hard to pull off with every teacher in her building walking around with a big magnet that can kill her.  So I'm trying to find answers by casting a large net.


    I would still appreciate an answer, if one is found.  But if you can't answer my question, there's no shame in saying "I don't know.  Sorry I can't help you."  It's way more acceptable than crafting a response that suggests I'm an idiot.

  • Simon Slavin Level 4 (1,400 points)

    The strength of the magnets in the iPad2 is irrelevant.  What you would need to know is the strength of magnets that will interfere with her shunt.  Unless you know that it's pointless even asking the questions.  So get back to us when you can talk milliTors and B-fields and we'll talk.


    By the way, the system used by some shops to detect anti-theft tags involves magnets far stronger than those used in the closures of iPads.  So if iPad magnets are strong enough to harm your daughter then she should on no account go into the sort of shop that has an anti-theft alarm at its door, like some clothes shops do.  Similarly, the motors used in automatic doors used in coaches and subway trains use pretty strong magnets which can be pretty close to a child's head.  Also there's the risk that someone carrying an iPad might walk past her in the street.


    What I'm really telling you here is that you should not worry about iPads: your daughter is going to encounter far stronger magnets in everyday life. And as always, when asking for medical advice you should be asking a doctor, not us.  In this case, ask the doctor (or department) that fitted her device and knows exactly what device it is and what it can stand up to.  It is that doctor's responsibility to know and tell you, not just fob you off with an impossible "Keep her well away from all digital devices.".  And if he doesn't know he should be concerned enough to consult with the manufacturer of your daughter's programmable shunt valve.  He shouldn't be letting you get medical advice from a bunch of computer geeks.

  • Aloha056 Level 1 (0 points)

    First....ignore carl wolf and Simon Slavin 1) I told our neurosurgeon about the potential risk before he was aware of it. 2) The magnetic value of the ipad IS relevant. What good is it to only know at what number the valve setting changes? You need to know both.


    So....from the parent of a child with a VP shunt .....YES you need to worry about ANY ipad that is not the first generation. That is the only one that does not contain magnets. The VP shunt that your child has (I suspect it is a Strata II) has a magnetic valve that is devised to have the setting change at 90 gauss or higher. Medtronic (maker of this shunt valve) conducted a study through the University of Michigan after receiving numerous reports of shunt settings changing. Ipad2's seemed to be the culprit. Tests showed that yes in fact the Ipad2 with Smart cover will change the setting. The ipad2 has 10 magnets, the SmartCover has 11 magnets. Together they put out 2060 gauss.


    The reason you can't find any information on the new ipad air is because Apple does not give out the gauss information even for medical reasons. Medtronic has not conducted any new studies since the ipad2. Here is the link to the study with a table including the top commonplace items and their gauss ratings. http://www.medtronic.com/wcm/groups/mdtcom_sg/@mdt/@nt/documents/documents/ns-st ratamagnetic_rev-e.pdf. Keep an eye on noise cancelling headphones as well. Also hand wand metal detectos used for security screening should be avoided. If flying contact TSA and see what documentation would be required to prevent the hand wand from being used in the head area.



    I'm here to tell you the ipad2 ALONE will change the setting. We do not have the Smart Cover. It has happened to my daughter 3 times. I knew about the danger but thought that we had a first generation ipad (it was a gift). Once we took the ipad away for good.....no more setting changes. She was hospitalized 3 times with collapsed ventricles because it changes to the setting that drains the most fluid leaving next to nothing in the ventricles.On the 3rd ER trip her neurosurgeon came in the room and immediately said "She's being exposed to magnets" This is when we discovered our ipad was actually an ipad2 (checking for camera function is the fastest way to determine what generation it is as it is not clearly stated anywhere on the tablet itself)

    Note: the shunt setting can be determined from a CT scan We were able to go back and track each time her shunt setting was off. So that's a way to know if the neurosurgeon is viewing scans from the shunt series remotely and is not physically there to check the setting.


    My situation is probably different from yours because in addition to hydrocephalus my daughter also has Autism. Which means she does not understand the danger of putting her head near the ipad. She 'stims' visually and by auditory measure so it is very common for her to put her face or ear right up to a tv, tablet or anything that makes any kind of noise. Ipads are everywhere and in her school. Being in a special needs classroom the ipads are constantly used. The value they have to children on the spectrum is undeniable and the loss of this tool for us has been devastating. I talked to support at Apple and all ipads from the 2nd generation moving forward WILL and DO contain magnets. Oh and iphones have magnets too so Apple is forcing us to be an Android family whether we want to be or not. I really wish they would stop with the magents. Especially with how they are infiltrating school systems and catering to the special needs population. There is a small part of the population being completely compromised. In my discussions with Apple Support there is no plan to stop using magnets any time soon and removing them is not the solution as this damages the software rendering the device inoperable.


    The 'danger zone' is two inches from the valve. For a child that can be aware of the proximity issue and can keep the ipad away from their head I wouldn't worry too much. Keep in mind though if your child is walking next to a teacher or student and they have an ipad in hand or in a backpack/shoulder case it could potentially be level with the shunt valve depending on the height of your child and the other individual. This is the case with my daughter who is only 6. When she walks next to her therapist that has a soft shoulder bag case for her ipad it ends up level with my daughters head. So everyone needs to walk on her left side (vp shunt is on the right obviously). We have a special legal safety plan written for my daugher to protect her from exposure to ipads at school.


    For your child specifically you will need to determine their ability to keep a safe distance from the ipad. I certainly wouldn't allow it in bed where they could lay down next to it unintentionally or even fall asleep. If my daughter wasn't 6, if she didn't have Autism....I would feel much more comfortable allowing her to have one or be around them. But for us it is far too dangerous as 3 hospitalizations have proven. Ultimately do what feels right. 

  • carl wolf Level 6 (14,625 points)

    "his response was "Just don't let her near one.  Better safe than sorry." "


    Then, you have your answer.

  • Simon Slavin Level 4 (1,400 points)

    But it is impractical.  Someone can walk down a street carrying an iPad.  I was at a big wedding yesterday (over 300 guests) and at least two people were using iPads to take pictures and movies (lame, I know).  The response is equivalent to "Don't let your daughter onto public streets or attend family events, certainly she can never attend a school.  Don't allow public employees with electronic devices of any kind near her.".  I'm not going to post medical advice here but I will repeat that the magnets used in iPads are far weaker than many other magnets used in things you walk past every day in public.


    There's nothing special about the magnets in iPads, neither in the shape of the field they generate or how strong that field is.  And I'm aware of non-Apple devices with just as strong magnets in.  If you want specific examples (two of many) both Samsung tablets and Microsoft Surface devices use magets to attach themselves to keyboards and covers, and their design is effectively identical to that used in iPads.


    Since the advice he was given is impractical the OP should return to his medical department, tell this to them and ask for clarification.  If they really intend him to keep his daughter out of public that's what they should say.