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PSA: Using your iPhone on a motorcycle mount will destroy the camera

All of the shaking is terrible for your iPhone’s camera.

iphone on motorcycle mount
Image: KnowTechie

If you’re a motorcyclist, you might be tempted to mount your iPhone to the handlebars. I mean, your bike probably doesn’t have GPS, right? Well, according to Apple, you shouldn’t. See, the vibrations created by your bike can destroy the camera systems in your iPhone.

Yes, it literally shakes them to death. The sensitive optical image stabilization (OIS) and closed-loop autofocus (AF) features are damaged by high-amplitude vibrations, “specifically those generated by high-power motorcycle engines.”

The OIS is a really complicated system using sensors and a gyroscope to prevent blur if you move the device while taking a photo. Closed-loop AF has been in since the iPhone 7, and it uses magnetic sensors to measure vibration, then adjust accordingly. It’s not hard to see why either system would be damaged by vibration, especially that from a high-powered engine.

As you could guess, it’s a wide-ranging issue, which is why Apple has put out the support page specifically for it. A quick search brings up multiple posts going back multiple years, with the common thread seemingly being all the iPhones were used on motorcycle handlebar mounts. Some of those posts also mention use on mountain bikes, so it seems those aren’t immune either.

Apple says to avoid damage, don’t mount your iPhone to motorcycles with high-power or high-volume engines. Smaller bikes might be okay, but we’d recommend buying a standalone GPS that doesn’t have easily damaged camera systems inside instead.

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