Apple has warned riders that mounting iPhones on the bike’s handlebars for navigation is a bad idea that can seriously damage the phone’s delicate camera system.
As spotted by MacRumors, a new support page appeared on Apple’s website, indicating that delicate Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Closed Loop Autofocus (AF) systems can be damaged by vibration from motors, which move enough to cause damage potential and permanent.
“IPhone’s OIS and AF closed-loop systems are built to last,” writes Apple. “However, as is the case with many consumer electronics devices that include systems such as OIS, long-term direct exposure to high amplitude vibrations in certain frequency ranges can degrade the performance of these systems. and lead to reduced image quality for photos and videos. “
As such, it is “not recommended to connect your iPhone to motorcycles with high power or high volume motors due to the amplitude of the vibrations in certain frequency ranges they generate”, concludes the company.
Vehicles with similar designs but smaller engines – like mopeds and electric scooters – do not have the same inherent risk, but Apple still recommends that “comparatively lower amplitude vibrations” be countered with damping vibrations and avoid “prolonged vibrations”. periods ”of use.
Given the nature of the two camera technologies – OIS uses a built-in gyroscope, while AF relies on magnetic sensors – it is perhaps not surprising that the technology is vulnerable to intense and prolonged vibration.
And indeed, you don’t have to dig too deep to find tales of people who have been affected. A horserider found that a single eight mile drive was enough to break the iPhone’s camera, which resulted in “swimming” images that refuse to focus.
It’s unclear why Apple decided to raise awareness now, but it’s certainly a good thing it did – one person said they had their phone replaced twice before someone at the Apple Store did. detects the problem, and only then because they roll themselves. a motorcycle.
So what can you do if you are a motorcyclist who uses the iPhone for navigation? Well, there are products that claim to make things better, like the Hondo Buzz-Kill vibration isolator at $ 54, but whether that will be enough to keep your iPhone safe is another matter.
There are also dedicated handlebar GPS solutions that are designed for this purpose and don’t have the same tricky internals to worry about. Something like the $ 340 Garmin Zumo will do.
Alternatively, there are plenty of sturdy and inexpensive Android phones that you can buy and use as dedicated GPS. If you don’t plan to use their other features, you don’t have to worry about vibration damage. It won’t win any awards for beauty or speed, but a Kyocera DuraForce Pro can be yours for under $ 100 if you shop around, and will work just fine as a dedicated motorcycle GPS.