In September 2021, an article appeared in the device support section of the Apple website that will certainly attract the attention of motorcyclists. The document states that powerful vibrations generated by motorcycle engines can negatively affect the performance of iPhone cameras.
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It is worth noting the behavior of the manufacturer, who did not deny the problem, but explained it as much as possible. It is difficult to fight the laws of physics that manifest themselves in scenarios atypical for a smartphone. We know that, under normal conditions, the iPhone camera can produce really great photos. Camera systems include advanced technologies such as optical image stabilization and closed-loop autofocus. They help you take high-quality pictures even in difficult conditions. It is these systems that resist subtle movements and vibrations. So, the optical image stabilization OIS using a gyroscope determines the movement of the camera during shooting. To avoid blur, the lens moves in accordance with the angle of the gyroscope. Another useful feature is closed-loop autofocus. During its operation, built-in magnetic sensors measure gravitational and vibration effects and reveal the position of the lens, allowing you to calculate the compensation movement.
These systems are initially designed for long-term operation. However, prolonged direct exposure to high-amplitude vibrations of certain frequency ranges on an electronic device can degrade the performance of systems. But this situation applies not only to the iPhone, but also to many other household devices, including smartphones. It’s just that Apple is honest about the problem, warning motorcyclists of the possible consequences.
This problem can manifest itself due to the work of powerful motorcycle engines, which create the very vibrations. They are transmitted through the chassis to the steering wheel with the iPhone attached to it. A powerful external influence can degrade the performance of the camera and make the quality of the captured photos and videos trivially lower.
I must say that this problem has long been noticed by motorcycle owners, complaining about it. A year ago, one of the bikers posted on Reddit about the strange work of his iPhone 11 Pro. The phone was attached to the steering wheel of a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, but after just a month, the camera was noticeably worse off. It turned out to be very difficult to get clear photos.
And this problem affects almost all iPhones released in recent years. The fact is that the optical stabilization system appeared in the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, and closed-loop autofocus – in 2018 in the iPhone XS.
I must say that it was not possible to completely resolve the situation. Apple suggests using a special shock-absorbing mount, which will significantly reduce the risk of damaging your smartphone cameras. But the manufacturer also does not recommend regularly and for a long time to use a smartphone in this position on the handlebars of a motorcycle. Even on small two-wheeled vehicles or electric mopeds / scooters, vibrations can be present. And although there is no direct solution to the problem, information about it and the simplest recommendations will already help to minimize risks. And motorcyclists will at least know what can happen with the constant presence of a smartphone on the steering wheel.