Physical sensitivity to recent Apple devices - help needed

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by clementsoupiere, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. clementsoupiere macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2015
    Hello folks,

    I am experiencing an awkward electronic device-related pain which I do not understand and I would like to know if others have experienced the same issues and solved them. Just to clarify, I am both an Apple geek (the kind of guy that queued the night before to get the first iPad) and nerd (working in the scientific sector and programming my own software).

    The issue is that some recent Apple devices give me an intense pain the middle finger when I use or hold them. This pain feels like a needle is being forced through my bone and lasts several hours after using the device. The skin has no symptom at all (e.g. no irritation). The pain is not related to the intensity of tapping on the screen and this is not a carpan canal syndrome. If I do not stop using the device, the pain grows in the arm and I get difficulties to move it. At the end, I must anyhow stop using the device. I have experienced this pain with some devices but not all. Here is the details:

    * I first experienced this pain something like 12 years ago when I bought my first laptop, which were PC at this time (HP and Thinkpad). As soon as I started to use the touchpad or trackpad, my middle finger got painful.

    * I bought my first mac (white plastic iBook) and I had no pain at all. That was the beginning of long series of happy Mac laptop purchase (MBP 15, 17 and 17 again) and all was fine. I had forgotten this finger pain.

    * The pain came back when I started to use the first MBP unibody (hardly noticeable with the 15', very intense with the 13'). I bought instead a MBA 11' which was totally fine to use.

    * When I wanted to renew this MBA 11', I bought a MBP retina but both the 15' and the 13' were impossible to use. I studied more carefully this pain and it was actually not linked to using the touchpad but simply to posing my hands on the laptop. The pain is actually not in the touchpad pointing finger but in the middle one. I bought the most recent MBA 11' (which I thought would be fine as the older one was), but I could not use it either.

    * I also experienced a similar pain with the iPad 1. The instant I turned it on the first time I immediately felt something in my finger (when I was just holding the tablet and not touching the screen). I bought a case and a film and could use the iPad 1 fine.

    * I then bought an iPad mini and have had no trouble at all. But when I bought an iPad Air or an iPad mini retina, they were impossible to use. Even with a case and a film, just holding them when turned on gave me this pain in my finger.

    * I have had the same problems with iPhones. The 3GS and the 5C are totally fine, but the 5S and especially the 6 are not.

    I am totally confused with this. I have tried to approach the problem rationally, trying to see whether the devices that give me pain have a special characteristics, like wireless antenna, battery voltage or else. There is no evidence of anything. The only pattern is that plastic devices have always been fine (iBook, iPhone 3GS and 5C) and non-unibody MBP too. But for recent MBP and MBA I cannot see any pattern, some are fine, some are terrible.

    I have also questioned whether this pain would actually be psychosomatic, i.e. me being so focused on thinking whether I have pain that this would wrongly give me a feeling of pain. However, in situation where a friend ask me how to do something with a phone or laptop and I answer without thinking at all about this possible pain, it still appears quickly. It is also perfectly repeatable: some devices systematically give me pain, while others never do.

    When I talk to other people about this, they just look at me bewildered and do not understand and I hesitated to write this post. My case may be unique or among the 0.00...001% of Apple device users, but I hardly see a solution and I am asking you folks if some of you have experienced something similar and if you have been able to deal with this so that I can find an evidence-based rational solution.

    Thanks a lot folks!

  2. doynton macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2014
    Don't think so - there are plenty of threads complaining about this - for example

    The only solution seems to be gloves.
  3. doubledee macrumors 6502


    May 14, 2012
    Just skimmed your OP...

    Whenever I use the touch pad on my MBP, I use the side of my finger or thumb and the edge of my fingernail.

    I don't like dragging my finger on aluminum!

    It's a subtle technique, but it keeps the pads of my fingertips happy.


  4. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    The trackpad is glass.

    Op visit your doctor.
  5. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    Is I t just the one finger in the one hand? Is the same finger on the other hand ok?
  6. clementsoupiere thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2015
    When I use an iPhone 5S or 6, this is the finger (and the wrist after prolonged use) from the hand that holds the phone. When I use a laptop, this starts with the right hand (the touchpad one) but the left hand gets some pain after a few days too. What is very uncomfortable is that the pain persists a couple of hours after using the devices. It also feels like my whole arm is "too short" and extending it fully is difficult and painful in the shoulder. This ONLY happens when I use recent Apple devices (I can swim for kms and be fine).

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