Apple has reported that strong vibration, such as from riding a motorcycle, can damage the iPhone’s camera. This became known from the new Apple support page.

IPhone’s optical image stabilization and phase-detection AF systems are built to last. However, as is the case with many consumer electronic devices that include similar systems, prolonged direct exposure to high amplitude vibrations in certain frequency ranges can degrade the performance of these systems and result in reduced image quality. It is not recommended to expose iPhone to prolonged high-amplitude vibrations.

Apple Support

The most striking example of a source of such vibrations are motorcycles:

Motorcycle engines with high power or large displacement generate intense vibrations of large amplitude. They are transmitted through the chassis and steering wheel. It is not recommended to attach iPhone to motorcycles with powerful engines or large engines due to vibration generated by them.

Apple Support

Optical stabilization has been used since the iPhone 6 Plus, with the exception of the ultra-wide-angle cameras of modern iPhones. Phase detection autofocus first appeared on the iPhone XS in 2018.

I took a comment from the editor-in-chief of Big Geek Nikolai Nikolaev, who is a member of the Harley breeders’ crowd:

Rumors of iPhone camera deaths after riding motorcycles surfaced about a year ago when the popular smartphone mount manufacturer SP Connect released an anti-vibration module for bikes.

I installed it myself, but it felt less convenient to use the iPhone at idle speed: the smartphone began to vibrate less frequently, but with a greater amplitude – it became much more difficult to hit the small buttons with your finger, but on the go, the problem was not felt with or without the module.

We recently drove Harleys from Moscow to Kazan, where the owner of one of the new Harley-Davidson Pan America with a similar mounting system, but without an anti-vibration module, had an iPhone camera failure. “Classic” Harley-Davidson visually vibrates much stronger than the new Pan America, from which I conclude that it is the high-frequency vibrations that are harmful to autofocus, with which the anti-vibration module fights.

Nikolay Nikolaev

Big Geek Editor-in-Chief

But with mopeds, things are easier. Their vibrations can also render the iPhone camera unusable. However, this can be avoided by hanging the smartphone on a shock-absorbing mount.

Presumably, this problem applies not only to Apple devices, but also to any other smartphones whose cameras have such systems.

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