Apple: Don’t Attach Your iPhone to Your Handlebar or Chassis

Vibrations from high-powered engines can damage iPhone cameras, Apple says.

In an effort to quell damaged phone cameras, phone mount companies like Ram implement in-house vibration damper technology.Ram Mount

Think twice about mounting your iPhone onto your rig if you want to use your camera again. Late last week, Apple released a statement on the dangers of engine vibration to the iPhone camera lens. This comes after motorcycle and ATV riders have complained of camera damage after mounting their phones to the handlebar.

Those with damaged phones report that the autofocus feature no longer works, making every photo blurred. “The advanced camera systems in some iPhone models include technology like optical image stabilization and closed-loop autofocus to help you capture great photos even in difficult conditions,” Apple explained. “These systems work to automatically counteract movement, vibrations, and the effects of gravity to let you focus on taking a great shot.” And while these systems are designed to counteract vibration, Apple says they can only withstand so much.

Off-road terrain adds an additional layer of vibration that manufacturers like Hondo Garage have preemptively worked against.Hondo Garage

Specifically, Apple cited the high-amplitude vibration created by engines with high power output or larger cubic capacity as damaging over extended periods. However, Apple’s claim of a time period of vibration or high engine capacity being the culprit hasn’t rung true among the consumers themselves.  Two- and four-wheel rider forums, like ADV Rider, are filled with complaints of phone cameras rendered useless after a single ride or on bikes as small as a 200cc Suzuki VanVan. Riders reported damaged phone cameras across the engine configuration spectrum, from thumpers to inline-fours. Apple did not clarify whether vibrations from riding off-road differed or increased the risk from those high-amplitude vibrations of the engine.

The guidance that Apple did release is simple: Don’t attach your phone to the handlebar or chassis of any vehicle using a motorcycle-style engine. A caveat for electric scooters and small-volume engines was carved out, so long as users install a vibration-damping system to their phone mounting system. Luckily or unluckily, there are plenty of options for those trying to protect your phone camera. Companies like Hondo Garage produced vibration-damping additions to its phone mounts long before iPhone cameras were calling it quits. On the unlucky side of things, Quad Lock has posthumously created a Vibration Dampener for its vehicle mounts after reports of destroyed phones began to pile up. And while these additional pieces of protection may prolong the life of your iPhone camera, Apple notes that these vibration-damping pieces aren’t fail-safe either.