Apple is just on the brink of releasing its new iPhones. The company is now informing its users about how vibrations may damage the iPhone cameras. A support document released on the 10th of September says, “Exposing your iPhone to high amplitude vibrations within certain frequency ranges, specifically those generated by high-power motorcycle engines can degrade the performance of the camera system.”
Cameras on iPhones have been good for a long time. One of the many reasons for this is because the sensor used right from iPhone 6 Plus have Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). OIS helps prevent taking blurry pictures when you accidentally move your phone. The Gyroscope sensor in your phone detects the movement and the lens moves following the data received from the gyroscope sensor to keep the image stable.
Newer generations of iPhones, beginning from the iPhone XS have closed-loop autofocus. According to Apple, “Closed-loop AF resists the effects of gravity and vibration to preserve sharp focus in stills, videos, and panoramas. With closed-loop AF, on-board magnetic sensors measure gravity and vibration effects and determine the lens position so that the compensating motion can be set accurately.”
Both these structures are designed for durability and when there is long-term, direct exposure to high-amplitude vibrations within certain frequency ranges it may degrade the performance of these structures and at times also render them useless (Source: MacRumors).
When riding certain high power motorcycles they produce vibration at certain speeds not only at the handlebar but the whole chassis vibrate. These vibrations may not necessarily be noticed by the rider since they might have gotten used to them.
As a preventive measure, Apple recommends using vibration dampening mounts. You can also avoid using your iPhone as a GPS device attached to the handlebar or your fuel tank. Longer the exposure, the greater the risk. After all, prevention is better than cure.