Apple Warns That iPhones On Motorcycles Could Spell The Death Of Your Camera
The issue stems from the optical image stabilization (OIS) and closed-loop autofocus (AF) systems used on iPhones. The magnetic sensors and gyroscopes used in conjunction with the tiny motors that power these systems are highly susceptible to high-frequency vibrations, resulting in component failure. Apple writes:
The OIS and closed-loop AF systems in iPhone are designed for durability. However, as is the case with many consumer electronics that include systems like OIS, 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.
Apple explains that the high-amplitude vibrations from the engine transmit through the motorcycle's chassis and through the handlebars, where iPhones are often directly mounted for music listening or navigation/CarPlay purposes. Apple even goes so far as to say that mopeds or electric scooters, which can emit "lower-amplitude vibrations," are also susceptible to some risk to camera OIS and AF component damage.
To lessen the effects of unwanted vibrations, Apple recommends that customers use a vibration dampening mount to protect the fragile camera system from permanent damage.
What's interesting is that neither motorcycles nor OIS/AF systems in iPhones are new technology. In the case of OIS, it has been present in Apple devices since the iPhone 7 family. So why Apple waited until now to provide an official support document regarding the issue remains a mystery. Perhaps the company is seeing an uptick in customer complaints or is witnessing an influx of warranty claims. Whatever the case, it's better late than never to get the word out to customers.