Apple says, bike vibrations can damage the iPhone camera

Vibrations due to “high-power motorcycle engines, can degrade the performance of the camera system.”

iPhone 12
Vibrations due to “high-power motorcycle engines, can degrade the performance of the camera system.”

A new blog post on the Apple Support forum said that exposing the iPhone to high amplitude vibrations “specifically those generated by high-power motorcycle engines can degrade the performance of the camera system.” Apple said one should not mount iPhone on the bike because the vibrations from handlebars and chassis can damage the iPhone’s camera gyroscope sensor.

Apple says:

If you accidentally move a camera when you take a picture, the resulting image can be blurry. To prevent this, some iPhone models have optical image stabilization (OIS).1 OIS lets you take sharp photos even if you accidentally move the camera. With OIS, a gyroscope senses that the camera moved. To reduce image motion, and the resulting blur, the lens moves according to the angle of the gyroscope.

Additionally, some iPhone models have closed-loop autofocus (AF).2 Closed-loop AF resists the effects of gravity and vibration to preserve sharp focus in stills, videos, and panoramas. With closed-loop AF, on-board magnetic sensors measure gravity and vibration effects and determine the lens position so that the compensating motion can be set accurately.

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. It is recommended to avoid exposing your iPhone to extended high-amplitude vibrations. 

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. Attaching your iPhone to vehicles with small-volume or electric engines, such as mopeds and scooters, may lead to comparatively lower-amplitude vibrations, but if you do so a vibration dampening mount is recommended to lessen the risk of damage to your iPhone and its OIS and AF systems. It is also recommended to avoid regular use for prolonged periods to further lessen the risk of damage.

Apple said if you are planning to mount your iPhone on a motorcycle, the company recommends you to use a vibration-dumping mount to reduce the risk of damage. If you want to use it for a long time, mount your iPhone on a vehicle that produces low amplitude vibrations.

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