Apple Warns Vibrations Like Those From High-Power Motorcycle Engines Can Harm iPhone Cameras

Apple today published a new support document warning iPhone users that the cameras on their devices can be damaged by exposure to certain vibrational frequencies such as those generated by high-power motorcycle engines.

iPhone 12 cameras
‌iPhone‌ camera lenses with optical image stabilization (OIS) or closed-loop autofocus (AF) are susceptible to this damage due to their use of gyroscopes and/or magnetic sensors to help compensate for movement and vibration when shooting photos or video.

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.

Due to this risk, Apple recommends that users not attach their iPhones directly to the chassis or handlebars of such motorcycles, as direct transmission of vibrations can be intense. Apple even recommends that users mounting their devices to lower-powered devices like mopeds and electric scooters at least use a vibration-dampening mount to minimize the chances of any damage.


It is unclear whether there is a specific reason Apple has posted the document at this time, but there have been a number of reports on discussion forums and other venues over the years about damage caused in such scenarios, including on mountain bikes.

Apple has previously warned that OIS and closed-loop AF systems can similarly suffer from magnetic interference that degrades camera performance when used with certain ‌iPhone‌ accessories, although magnet-related issues tend to be temporary and can be remedied by simply removing the accessories. Vibrations can more easily result in permanent damage to the systems.

All ‌iPhone‌ models from the ‌iPhone‌ 7 onward, as well as the ‌iPhone‌ 6 Plus and ‌iPhone‌ 6s Plus, have OIS and/or closed-loop AF and are potentially affected.

Related Roundups: iPhone SE, iPhone 12
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Neutral)
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

alex00100 Avatar
18 months ago
That's the first step of apple introducing apple-branded motorcycles that will be safe to use with your iPhone.
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swingerofbirch Avatar
18 months ago
I have a really vague recollection of one of the iPhone announcements in which Apple was showing off the cameras by taking video in a desert, and I think the cameras were attached to off road vehicles or motorcycles or something like that. Didn't even have one where they attached to a hockey stick? It all blurs together. Anyhow, they always show their products in ads taken to the extreme but then of course AppleCare won't cover it.

Edit:

I found one of them (I think there were more like this). They even show the word "SHOT" shaking back and forth and you can see these vehicles are obviously vibrating:

Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
risenphoenixkai Avatar
18 months ago

Lol who would even strap their phone directly to the motorcycle. Ever heard of pockets? Pockets with zipper even?
Ever heard of GPS? Turn-by-turn directions even?
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shirasaki Avatar
18 months ago
So where do we suppose to use apple devices? Dust free room? Treating an iPhone like a $4m equipment?
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hagar Avatar
18 months ago
keep it in your pants, and you’ll be fine. ?
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lamina Avatar
18 months ago
Sounds like a Harley problem to me lol
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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