Exposure to motorcycle vibrations can fry iPhone's OIS, closed-loop autofocus
Apple recently realized that it isn't safe to expose your iPhone to the vibrations of high-powered motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters for an extended duration. An oddly specific warning for customers has been issued to this effect. Apple claims exposure to such vibrations could degrade your iPhone's cameras. The warning applies to everyone using an iPhone 6 Plus or a newer device. Here's more.
The warning document Apple published on Friday bore the title, "Exposure to vibrations, like those generated by high-powered motorcycle engines, might impact iPhone cameras." The document explained that long-term direct exposure to high-amplitude vibrations within certain frequency ranges can be detrimental to the functioning of the optical image stabilization (OIS) system and the closed-loop autofocus (AF) systems seen on some iPhones.
OIS balances the phone's camera assembly in a tiny gimbal. Its function is to prevent shakes, vibrations, and jerks from destabilizing videos and photos. Apple claims the iPhone's OIS system is reliant on a gyroscope sensor. The closed-loop AF system uses onboard magnetic sensors to measure vibration effects and gravity. This data is used to compensate to maintain focus in images, videos, and panoramas.
The Apple documentation's footnotes specify that OIS is available on the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 7 and later, including the second-generation iPhone SE. Meanwhile, closed-loop AF is available on the iPhone XS and later, including the second-generation iPhone SE. Apple strongly advises iPhone users against attaching their devices to high-power motorcycles to avoid damaging these systems permanently.
Apple rightly observes that on such high-power motorcycles, vibrations are transmitted through the frame and the handlebar. This could transmit the vibrations to the phone as well if it is attached to the handlebar for navigation. For lower-powered mopeds, scooters, and electric vehicles, Apple recommends using vibration dampening mounts. However, users are advised against using the mounts regularly for extended durations.