Apple has published a replacement support document advising iPhone owners to avoid certain high-amplitude vibrations, namely the type you get from powerful motorcycle engines, to guard their phone’s camera system. The newer iPhone models especially have sophisticated camera technology, including optical image stabilization, which certain vibrations impair.
If you own a motorbike, you’ll be tempted to connect your iPhone to the handlebars to record unique footage or ascertain navigation instructions with a GPS app. Unfortunately, doing this might, Apple says in its new support document, “degrade the performance of the camera system,” leading to poorer image quality going forward.
It seems two aspects of the camera system, especially, are susceptible to this issue: the optical image stabilization and closed-loop autofocus found on certain iPhone models. The OIS works to counteract small vibrations; therefore, the iPhone can capture sharp images; the closed-loop AF also helps mitigate vibration for high-quality images and videos.
In its support document, Apple says:
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 those systems and cause reduced image quality for photos and videos. Therefore, it’s recommended to avoid exposing your iPhone to extended high-amplitude vibrations.
For this reason, Apple is advising iPhone users to avoid attaching their phones to motorcycle handlebars and bodies if the vehicles have high-volume or high-power engines. In cases of motorized bikes like scooters which will produce lower-amplitude vibrations, Apple suggests employing a vibration-dampening mount to scale back the iPhone’s damage risk. Apple also notes, “It is additionally recommended to avoid regular use for prolonged periods to further lessen the danger of injury .”