iPhone owners should beware picking up vibrations from powerful motorbikes, as they may damage camera systems, Apple has said.
In a support document spotted by MacRumors, the technology giant published a warning that iPhones should not be attached to powerful bikes. Engine vibrations can harm phones’ optical-image stabilisation or closed-loop autofocus systems, it said. Owners of scooters and mopeds should also use “vibration-dampening mounts”.
On social media, several users have said their phones have been damaged after being attached to a motorcycle. Apple says several models of iPhone are susceptible to the damage.
The other factor is closed-loop auto-focus, which is designed to resist the effects of gravity and vibration to ensure sharp focus in stills, videos, and panorama shots.
“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,” Apple explains.
OIS is present on the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 7 and later, as well as the second-generation (2020) iPhone SE.
The Ultra-Wide camera on iPhone 11 and later doesn’t have OIS. The Telephoto camera on iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus doesn’t, either.
Closed-loop autofocus only features on the iPhone XS and later as well as the second-generation iPhone SE.
The issue is specific to situations where the user mounts an iPhone to the vehicle. This is a potential problem for motorbikes who use an iPhone for maps and directions.
“High-power or high-volume motorcycle engines generate intense high-amplitude vibrations, which are transmitted through the chassis and handlebars. It is not recommended to attach your iPhone to motorcycles with high-power or high-volume engines due to the amplitude of the vibration in certain frequency ranges that they generate,” Apple warns.
The affected systems are designed to improve picture quality by counteracting movement, vibrations, and the effects of gravity.
But high-power or high-volume motorcycle engines generate “intense high-amplitude vibrations”, the support page said, which can be transmitted through the frame and handlebars.
“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 added.
The solution is to refrain from attaching iPhones to the bike in the first place – something commonly done for navigation.