An Apple Support document warns riders that vibrations from their motorcycles’ engines may cause damage to iPhone cameras. Apple does not recommend that you attach an iPhone to motorcycles a high-power or large-displacement powerplants—including the frame or handlebar—due to the vibration amplitude created. Small displacement and lower-powered motorcycles, including moped and scooters, may be used if a vibration-damping mount is employed.
The alert does not apply to all iPhones, however. The problem occurs with iPhones with two different features.
The first feature that can be negatively impacted by motorcycle engine vibrations is the optical image stabilization (OIS) function. OIS uses a gyroscope to sense movement, and then adjusts the camera lens to compensate when taking a photo. The vibrations and the gyroscope do not get along.
The other feature is closed-loop autofocus, which also helps prevent motion-induced blurry photos. Closed-loop autofocus measures gravity and vibration via magnetic sensors, and that information is used to adjust the phone’s lens accordingly.
OIS is widely used on Apple iPhone cameras, including the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, and later models, including iPhone SE (2nd generation). However, there are exceptions. “The Ultra Wide camera on iPhone 11 and later doesn’t have OIS, nor does the Telephoto camera on iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus,” according to the Apple bulletin.
While iPhones are designed for durability, Apple points out that the constant intense high-amplitude vibrations of a powerful motorcycle engine exceed the design’s limitations. “The OIS and closed-loop AF systems in iPhone are designed for durability,” according to Apple. “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