Apple warns iPhone cameras can be affected by motorcycle vibrations

Both OIS and closed-loop AF systems are vulnerable to degradation

Apple warns iPhone cameras can be affected by motorcycle vibrations

Apple warned in a new support website that “high-amplitude vibrations” created by “high-power” motorcycle engines can impair iPhone photos. Optical image stabilization (OIS) and closed loop focusing systems are now standard on most iPhone models, reducing the impact of any unintentional movement while shooting. Long-term exposure to high-amplitude vibrations, according to Apple, could damage the performance of these systems. It may also result in lower image quality for photos and videos in the future. 

According to Apple’s support page, OIS is used on select iPhone models to avoid blurry images from coming from accidentally moving the camera while taking a picture. The OIS system employs a gyroscope that detects camera movement and assists in moving the lens into the proper position to eliminate image motion and blur. On select iPhone models, the closed-loop AF technology helps resist the effects of gravity and vibrations by using onboard magnetic sensors to maintain focus in photos and movies. To correct for motion, the sensors assess gravity and vibration effects and analyze the position of the camera lens.

Both OIS and closed-loop AF systems are vulnerable to degradation due to “long-term direct exposure to high-amplitude vibrations within certain frequency ranges” that can eventually impact photos and videos on the iPhones, Apple said.

Motorcycle engines with high power or volume produce intense high-amplitude vibrations that are transferred via the chassis and handlebars. Due to the magnitude of vibration in particular frequency bands generated by high-power or high-volume engines, it is not suggested to link your iPhone to them, according to the business.

Attaching an iPhone to vehicles with small-volume or electric engines, such as mopeds and scooters, may cause long-term damage to the OIS and AF systems, according to Apple. In these circumstances, the company advises consumers to utilize a vibration dampening mount to reduce the chance of harm to their iPhones.  To further reduce the danger of damage, Apple recommends avoiding regular use for long periods of time.

The OIS system is included on the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, and later devices, including the iPhone SE (2020), but closed-loop AF technology is only available on the iPhone XS and later models. This indicates that all recent iPhone models should be avoided when riding a motorcycle with a lot of vibrations.

The support page does not specify what it means by “high-amplitude vibrations” or whether all motorcycles on the market are capable of harming the iPhone cameras. It also hasn’t stated what kind of solution it would be able to provide to clients if they are already feeling the effects. The release of the support website comes at an interesting time, as Apple is gearing up for its September 14 event, at which the iPhone 13 series is scheduled to be announced.

Several customers have complained about decreased iPhone camera performance after riding motorcycles on several internet forums, including Apple’s own Communities forums, during the previous few months. Various retailers, however, are still selling ostensibly iPhone-compatible motorcycle attachments through both online and physical means.