Technology

New iPhone OS Making You Dizzy? It Isn’t Just You

Reports of Apple's newest operating system giving users motion sickness are rising. But an association with experience in the field says that there's a quick way to temper the effects.

You may love those snazzy visual effects in the latest version of your iPhone’s operating system, but they’re literally making some people sick.

Fortunately, the Vestibular Disorders Association is advising people on how to best deal with the situation. More details:

While VEDA cannot comment on any specific cases of Apple’s product design creating or resulting in motion sickness, medical science shows that viewing 3-D images can have unexpected side effects: intense nausea, dizziness, and vertigo.

The problem: The iPhone’s new iOS 7 interface—which replaced the prior version’s heavily textured interface with a more lightweight, simpler look—has a number of motion-based features, including parallax effects that make the background move behind the icons on the screen. In some users, this has triggered the motion-sickness issues commonly felt with another high-tech visual form: 3-D movies. Quartz reporter Christopher Mims recently described “simulation sickness,” which affects between 13 percent and 90 percent of the population (depending on how “immersive and convincing is the virtual environment” is), as “the occupational disease of the 21st century.”

What causes it? The vestibular system, which contributes to balance in humans, is located largely in the inner ear and plays an important role in our spatial awareness. John Golding, a professor at the University of Westminster, is quoted by The Guardian as saying that visually induced motion sickness results from “perceived self-motion while at the same time the vestibular system and somatosensory systems signal that the body is in fact static.” While fewer people are affected by the visually induced variety than by other forms of motion sickness, people with vestibular problems are particularly susceptible.

What users should know: The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA), which aims to inform, support, and advocate for those who suffer from and treat such ailments, recently offered advice to affected iOS 7 users. “While VEDA cannot comment on any specific cases of Apple’s product design creating or resulting in motion sickness, medical science shows that viewing 3-D images can have unexpected side effects: intense nausea, dizziness, and vertigo. These symptoms often result from visual-vestibular conflicts,” the group’s executive director, Cynthia Ryan, said in a news post. To minimize the effects, VEDA suggests iPhone users go into the “Accessibility” menu in the “Settings” app and turn on the “Reduce Motion” option, although it points out that this change does not affect every part of the system.

Even if you don’t experience motion sickness while using your iPhone, it’s worth knocking off that option anyway. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, it’s a way to save battery life on your device.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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