The easiest way to avoid getting lost on a motorbike involves attaching a smartphone to your handlebars and firing up Google Maps or a similar app. If you have an iPhone, though, there’s a chance that doing this too often could spell disaster for the camera.
A few days ago Apple released a support document warning of the potential for “high-amplitude vibrations” from “high-power or high-volume motorcycle engines” to damage both the optical image stabilization (OIS) and closed-loop autofocus (AF) systems on iPhones.
Apple hasn’t specified what it constitutes “high-power or high volume,” but from the sounds of it, the company is referring to pretty much anything that isn’t a 125. “Attaching your iPhone to vehicles with small-volume or electric engines, such as mopeds and scooters, may lead to comparatively lower-amplitude vibrations,” it says. The support document goes on to recommend using a vibration dampening phone mount with such motorcycles and also avoid “regular use for prolonged periods.”
Those with bigger machines are simply told attaching an iPhone to their bikes is “not recommended”. If you’re going to go against this advice and do it anyway, it’s definitely worth buying a vibration-damping mount to lessen the chance of damage.
These warnings only apply to when the phone is mounted directly to the bike - if left in your pocket, your squishy body will be acting as a damper.
OIS is found on iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and the second-generation iPhone SE. Closed-loop AF meanwhile was on all iPhones from the XS onwards including the second-gen SE.
Has your iPhone camera developed issues after being mounted on a motorcycle? Let us know in the comments.