iOS 7 Is a Stomach-Churning Ride for Some Users
Sep 27, 2013 5:00 AM PT
Apple's new mobile operating system iOS 7 is making people sick -- literally -- based on complaints that have begun appearing on Apple forums.
"The zoom animations everywhere on the new iOS 7 are literally making me nauseous and giving me a headache," wrote Ensorceled on one forum. "It's exactly how I used to get car sick if I tried to read in the car."
Another discussion group contributor said the iOS 7 discomfort was similar to a problem previously experienced on the Mac.
"After using [iOS 7] for two minutes, I felt nauseous," ajax 324 reported. "It's the same way I feel when I use spaces on my Mac. Which is a feature that can be turned off."
You can view an example of the animation on Apple Insider by clicking here.
'Going to Vomit'
The latest version of Apple's mobile operating system was made available for download last week. Its interface has been revamped. It uses brighter colors and replaces skeuomorphic interface elements -- elements that look like objects in the real world -- with flat ones.
The interface also makes generous use of animation. As folders and apps are opened and closed, the screen zooms in and out. When moving among apps, transitions zoom and slide. Full screen slides are common. On the home screen, there's a 3D parallax effect that makes the icons appear to float and move as if detached from the background.
All that movement can be overwhelming for some users, or worse.
"I thought I was going crazy today after I updated my phone and I noticed I was feeling queasy every time I used it," wrote knphoto10 in an online discussion. "Now I see I am not alone! I just used my phone for about 20 minutes and now I feel like I'm going to vomit."
After researching the problem for three days, another discussion contributor reported finding only one solution: Get a new phone and refuse to upgrade.
The problem isn't limited to the iPhone.
"I had severe vertigo the minute I started using my iPad with iOS 7," wrote forum member glassrabbit. "Lost the rest of the day to it ... . I can use it now [for a] limited time, AND ONLY if I close my eyes between apps."
There may be a silver lining -- of sorts. In order to tolerate the dizzying effects of the transitions, glassrabbit had to reduce the iPad's display brightness to 50 percent and philosophically noted that "it might save battery life."
While many forum members have complained about the animations in iOS 7, a number have said their problems weren't restricted to zooming and sliding.
"For me it was way beyond the zooming and the parallaxing in iOS7," wrote nybe in a discussion group. "It seemed to be something with a buzz or vibration (for lack of a better description) coming off the screen because even glancing at the lock screen made me feel awful."
Nybe's discomfort was shared by missionboy: "I can just look at an iOS 7 lock screen with the same image as iOS 6 and my eyes hurt after a minute."
"I can look at my iOS 6 phone all day without issue," continued missionboy. "It's almost as if the screen refresh rate is messed up or something else very fundamental is different."
iOS 7 Zoomgate
Motion sickness occurs when there's a conflict between visually perceived motion and a person's vestibular system located in the inner ear.
"For some people, that conflict can make them feel really ill," Yankee Group Research Director Carl Howe told MacNewsWorld.
"It's a real thing that affects a small percentage of the population, so it probably didn't come up in the testing of the operating system," he added.
Apple likely will address the problem by expanding the functions of the Reduce Motion button to turn off the animations.
"At the moment, there's no way to turn them off," observed Howe. "That's unusual, because Apple's been willing to turn off animations in other kinds of software."
In terms of past iOS snafus, the nausea issue is a minor one.
"It's not a major show stopper. It's not going to turn into Zoomgate," Howe said.
"The issue with the antennas and the bumper was a bigger issue," Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, told MacNewsWorld.
"For some people, though, this is a real issue, he added, and Apple is going to have to respond to it."
Apple did not respond to our request to comment for this story.