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Apple warns that vibrations from a motorcycle engine may damage iPhone cameras

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A couple of weeks ago, Apple announced a free repairs program for iPhone 12 devices affected by sound issues with the receiver. Now, the Cupertino tech giant has issued an advisory (thanks, MacRumors) for another issue, but it will not be offering free repairs this time.

The problem this time around deals with high amplitude vibrations, such as those coming from a powerful motorcycle engine, affecting the iPhone camera setup. Essentially, numerous iPhone models offer camera-focused technologies such as optical image stabilization (OIS) and closed-loop autofocus (AF), enabling users to take sharp shots while countering effects of gravity and vibrations.

Apple says that while OIS and closed-loop AF are "designed for durability", extended exposure to high-amplitude vibrations at certain frequencies will eventually lead to reduced quality in images and videos. Apple further explains that:

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. Attaching your iPhone to vehicles with small-volume or electric engines, such as mopeds and scooters, may lead to comparatively lower-amplitude vibrations, but if you do so 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.

It's unclear why Apple suddenly decided to issue an advisory about this matter given that OIS or closed-loop AF have been available in multiple iPhone models since the iPhone 6s Plus. It's likely that there has been an uptick in similar cases reported by customers. Apple has emphasized that the issue is common across "many" consumer electronics with these camera technologies and is not specific to the iPhone.

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