Apple Warns That Engine Vibrations Can Destroy iPhone Camera Sensors

It was already known that, even in older iPhones, even a mountain bike ride could prove to be damaging to the cameras.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The photo credit line may appear like thiskitzcorner/iStock

On Friday, Apple released a new support document detailing how iPhone cameras are susceptible to damage when exposed to certain vibrational frequencies such as those generated by high-power motorcycle engines.

"High-power or high-volume motorcycle engines generate intense high-amplitude vibrations, which are transmitted through the chassis and handlebars. It is not recommended to attach your iPhone to motorcycles with high-power or high-volume engines due to the amplitude of the vibration in certain frequency ranges that they generate," wrote apple in their document.

The firm went on to explain how two of iPhones' features work. iPhone models have optical image stabilization (OIS) and closed-loop autofocus (AF).

OIS uses a gyroscope to let you take clear photos even if you accidentally move the camera while closed-loop AF uses on-board magnetic sensors to resist the effects of gravity and vibration to preserve sharp focus in stills, videos, and panoramas. 

Both these features are susceptible to damage when exposed to high vibrational frequencies. 

Throughout the years there have been several reports of iPhones being damaged even when simply mounted on bikes. There's no indication why Apple decided to issue this warning now instead of earlier since this seems to be a preexisting problem.

Apple has however previously warned that magnetic accessories might also interfere with iPhone cameras. 

"Lens-position sensors respond to magnetic fields. If you place a magnet near these sensors, the magnetic field will interfere with or temporarily disable the sensors. This can degrade the sensors' accuracy and limit the range of movement available to the lenses. The camera will continue to take photos with other means of stabilization but without the benefit of OIS and closed-loop AF," wrote Apple in its previous warning.

These issues however are temporary and can be fixed by removing the accessories whereas vibrations cause permanent damage.

In other related news, Facebook has been reported to allegedly activate iPhone cameras when scrolling through the feed back in late 2019.


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