Apple Says Motorcycle Vibrations Are Killing Phone Cameras


A view of a rider trying out the QuadLock phone mount with the optional vibration Damper

I think I can vouch for nearly all of wBW when I say that technology is progressing faster than I can keep up. 

Sure, I have my iPhone handy on the daily, but it’s by no means the latest release – and the newest variant of Apple now touts a slew of new features such as OLED displays, 5G connectivity, the A14 chip for increased performance, MagSafe, and the use of gyroscope/magnetic sensors to stabilize photos.

A view of an iPhone symbolizing the gyroscope present in nearly every modern mobile device

The sensors, along with the relatively common Closed-loop AF (auto-focus) system that resists gravity and vibration to preserve sharp focus, is present in just about anything newer than the iPhone 6 Plus – and the advanced stabilization systems present in today’s smartphones are the reason why the modern mobile device is becoming less compatible with motorcycles. 

A view of the explanation behind how gyroscopes work in our mobile devices and how they are harmed by motorcycles

According to the report from Apple, certain frequencies tamper with the stabilizers in a phone camera – the same Optimal Image Stabilizers (OIS) that stop your picture from getting overly blurry when you snap a shot while accidentally tripping over the family dog. 

A view of a model being captured by an iPhone camera

Those frequencies are released in spades on a high-revving motorcycle – and the vibrations travel directly from the handlebars of the bike to your phone, should you have nothing but the mount between the two machines. 

A view of a motorcycle phone mount being attached directly to the handlebars- a danger to the phone, should it be newer than 2015.

“High-power or high-volume motorcycle engines generate intense high-amplitude vibrations, which are transmitted through the chassis and handlebars”, says Apple. “High-power or high-volume motorcycle engines generate intense high-amplitude vibrations, which are transmitted through the chassis and handlebars.”

A view of a rider about to launch down a drag strip

“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.”

A view of a model looking for main st., using the gyroscopes present in their smart phone

“Attaching your iPhone to vehicles with small-volume or electric engines, such as mopeds and scooters, may lead to comparatively lower-amplitude vibrations”. 

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Park the ‘Busa and grab the Grom.

A view of a rider leaning over the handlebars of a Honda Grom.

There is, of course, a further recommendation from the American multinational technology company, should you decide to go through with a phone mount for your high-cc motorcycle

A view of a QuadLock vibration Damper that can be added as an extra accessory to the original mount available from the company

…“if you do [decide to attach your iPhone to a high-revving motorcycle], a vibration dampening mount is recommended to lessen the risk of damage to your iPhone and its OIS and AF systems. It is also recommended to avoid regular use for prolonged periods to further lessen the risk of damage.”

A view of a rider bowing toe. Kawasaki Ninja H2 motorcycle

If you’re in the neighborhood for an Apple-friendly bike (or just want to peruse phone mounts), make sure to check our Best 125cc Motorcycles, as well as wBW’s recent coverage on vibration damper mounts available from QuadLock.

3 Comments

  1. ADStryker
    September 13, 2021
    Reply

    You also might consider a Hondo Garage Buzz Kill vibration isolator — they’re not pretty, but they work. I’ve been using one to keep my paint-shaker KTM 640 Adventure from killing my phone.

  2. Jeff
    September 14, 2021
    Reply

    Hmmm.. So far, my S20+ is holding up well on my C-A Spyder. I’m sure not the same kind of vibes?

  3. September 16, 2021
    Reply

    My Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro remains rock solid and reliable on any of the motorcycles, on or off road, with or without all the onboard electronics; the phone sensors work fine, but I know there can be issues. As a bit of follow-up to the wBW coverage of the QuadLock Motorcycle Vibration Dampener, mine just arrived today to use with an Apple iOS 8 phone and of course the XCover Pro. The dampener piece is small but could prove very valuable. Bruce

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