Stop mounting your smartphone on a motorcycle! Apple tells you why
Apple, the Silicon Valley bigwig, has stated that iPhone cameras could potentially be harmed when subjected to a high level of vibration – such as those emitted by high-power motorcycle engines. The report, which was published on the tech-giant’s support site on September 10 firmly discourages iPhone users from mounting smartphones on their motorcycles.
While riding motorcycles and using smartphones were never a good mix, riders have become increasingly dependent on the latter, especially for using navigation and telephony apps. However, any phone mounted to a motorcycle is subjected to high levels of vibrations, be it from the road surface or the motorcycle’s engine itself. In the case of iPhones, these vibrations can cause damage to the camera system. In order to achieve an iPhone’s near-DSLR like image quality, some variants of the popular smartphone make use of Optical Image Stabilisation or OIS. A gyroscope in the phone senses when the camera has moved, and the camera lenses move correspondingly to the gyroscope angles to reduce image motion and the resulting blur. In addition to this, certain models of the iPhone also feature closed-loop autofocus (AF) for sharper focused stills, videos and panorama shots – which are powered by on-board magnetic sensors that measure gravity and vibration effects, and help position the lens. While these systems are designed to withstand the rigours of everyday use, subjecting an iPhone with these moving parts to prolonged vibes on a motorcycle could potentially leave your camera image quality going for a toss.
While Apple has listed the iPhone models that might be susceptible to this scenario – luckily there are alternatives to avoid this unpleasant situation.
If you’re a rider who uses a phone to record your travels, investing in an action camera like a GoPro is a wise decision. Action cameras are designed to take a tougher beating and the point of view that these cameras offer is unbeatable, while eliminating the risk of using your precious smartphone in case of unforeseen incidents. While many riders swear by the proven GoPros, there are many more affordable alternatives available as well.
Music and calls
There are solutions to take care of your music and telephony needs as well. Motorcycle helmet intercoms are an ideal communication solution when you’re out riding. These devices with their large, easy to access controls, can be fitted on most helmets, and allow you to take phone calls and listen to music easily and safely. The intercom feature which is available on certain devices, also allows you to keep in contact with your fellow rider when riding together. While wearing Bluetooth headphones inside your helmet might be a cost-effective solution, they are also capable of easily drowning out surrounding traffic. While there are a barrage of these communication devices available on e-commerce platforms like Amazon, the brand Sena is a largely prominent choice although their products are on the pricier side.
While you can make do with keeping your phone in your backpack for telephony functions, navigation is an essential area where one requires their phone in sight. Certain modern motorcycles do feature Bluetooth to pair with your phone and show navigation alerts in their instrument cluster. However, if your motorcycle does not have these, you can always make use of a spare phone lying around to be your dedicated navigation device (in case of iPhones, any phone older than the 6S will do). Plugging this phone into your power socket will ensure it has a continuous charge, while also ensuring the phone you use as a daily driver remains unharmed.
In any case, if you’re one who enjoys the Thrill of Riding, it’s best to stow away that phone in your backpack and keep enjoying that long ride uninterrupted and unhindered.