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Apple: iPhones and motorcycles don’t play well together

By Sanuj Bhatia September 11, 2021, 7:00 am
iPhone 12 camera

If you keep your iPhone on your motorcycle’s or your bike’s engine, don’t. Apple published a new support document today warning iPhone users that the vibrations generated by high-end motorcycles and bike engines can damage the camera sensors of iPhones.

This is neither your iPhone camera’s fault nor your motorcycle’s engine’s fault. It’s just because of how your iPhones’ cameras are designed to work. Every iPhone since iPhone 7 has shipped with camera sensors that support optical image stabilization (OIS) or closed-loop autofocus (AF). How these technologies work is by moving the camera lens to the opposite direction of your movement, thus compensating it.


However, on engines and motorcycles, these vibrations can be intense. The company says, “long-term direct exposure to high-amplitude vibrations within certain frequency ranges may degrade the performance of these systems and lead to reduced image quality for photos and videos. It is recommended to avoid exposing your iPhone to extended high-amplitude vibrations.”

And not only high-end bikes, the company even recommends not to attach the iPhones with low-powered devices such as mopeds and electric scooters to minimize the chances of any damage.

It’s quite strange of Apple to publish a report like this so many years after incorporating the technology into iPhones. There have been a number of Apple users reporting such issues on discussion forums and Twitter over the past couple of years.

If you mount/attach your iPhone to a motorcycle, even though it might not affect you immediately, it’s best to avoid it.


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