Apple’s innovative designs and animations on its iOS7 may have more health demerits than aesthetic quality.
“The zoom animations everywhere on the new iOS 7 are literally making me nauseous and giving me a headache. It’s exactly how I used to get car sick if I tried to read in the car,” wrote one iPhone user on Apple’s support forums. That thread has been viewed over 15,000 times and features dozens of similar reports of carsickness and nausea.
“+1 here. Have headaches and nausea for past 3 days. Can’t stand to look at my phone screen anymore while opening/closing apps. I just close my eyes or look away,” another user wrote.
Dr. George Kikano, division chief of family medicine at UH Case Medical Center in Ohio, told FoxNews.com those users are likely correct: the iPhone is making them carsick.
“There’s some validity to this, for people who are susceptible,” he said. But it’s not the zoom animations that are responsible. It’s a new “parallax” function that causes the background of the phone to subtly move back and forth, a feature that leads to an effect not unlike car sickness.
It’s no different than being in an IMAX theater,” Kikano said. “The inner ear is responsible for balance, the eyes for vision. When things are out of sync you feel dizzy, nauseous. Some people get it, some people don’t, and some people get used to it.”
Other experts said the effect is somewhat different. Charles Oman, a former director at NASA who has studied motion sickness for over 15 years, told ABC News that he’s hesitant to call it motion sickness.
“It takes a couple minutes of sustained stimulation to activate motion sickness,” he said. “If it were an immersive environment, like a headset or an IMAX screen, then I can believe it, but it’s a little harder to believe on the small screens.”
Kikano has an iPhone 5S himself with the new software on it. His son is in medical school and works at Apple. Kikano noted that when Apple introduced the new parallax feature, the company added a new setting to turn it off.
By digging into the settings menu, a user can “reduce motion” of the new operating system, turning down the parallax effect on icons and alerts (the setting exists under the accessibility section of the general settings area).
For users suffering under iOS 7, there’s another solution however, noted by one user on Apple’s forums.
“I went to the AT&T store near me and traded in my iOS 7-infected iPhone 5 for a new iPhone 5 with old iOS 6 on it.”