Of all the design tweaks and updates to the latest iPhone and iPad operating system, did Apple forget to mention “free motion sickness”? Some users claim the update has left them feeling nauseated, and some experts believe there might be something to it.
“I just used my phone for about 20 minutes, and now I feel like I’m going to vomit,” NBC News quotes one iPhone user.
“It’s exactly how I used to get car sick if I tried to read in the car,” writes another.
A psychologist from Montclair State University who has studied cybersickness (but has not yet tested an iOS 7 device) tells NBC that these motion sickness symptoms could be the result of new animations and changing backgrounds that are new with iOS 7.
“Also, the resolution is very high,” he adds, “so you’ve got a very sharp, clear image — moving.”
A particular problem, he theorizes, is that the icons on the iPhone will move slightly. Combined with the new background, it can produce a 3D effect that is disorienting to some and can trigger nausea, headaches, and dizziness.
“Visually, the input is indicating that the person is moving, but all the other senses indicate the person is not moving — or, even worse, with these phones, is moving in a different way,” says the psychologist.
“I’m not surprised to hear this about iOS 7,” a professor of kinesiology at the University of Minnesota tells NBC. “As imaging technology develops across platforms, and we get greater frame rates and resolution, we find an increasing tendency for it to make people sick.”
If you’re feeling queasy just looking at your updated Apple device, you can go to Settings–> General–> Accessibility, then turn on the Reduce Motion option. It will also help if you don’t spend as much time staring at your phone… which is good advice for everyone, regardless of whether or not you get sick to your stomach.