iOS 7 Is Causing Motion Sickness, Say Reports

Apple’s new design style in iOS 7 have been giving some users bad cases of motion sickness.

The latest software powering Apple’s popular iPhones and iPads overhauls the look and feel of the interface, and features a variety of new digital animations and effects. But many users claim the new effects are more nauseating than nice. Photo: Johnny Villamar/ Flickr

A major change in Apple’s iOS 7 update was its sleek, minimal aesthetic; however, the amount of motion now found within is anything but minimal.

Several iPhone and iPad owners are experiencing motion sickness and even vertigo after downloading the new operating system, according to a couple official and unofficial Apple product forums.

When users unlock their device or when they tap to go in or out of an app in iOS 7, the operating system animates the apps flying in and out of the screen. Users are calling this “zoom animation” and many don’t like it.

Although the zoom animation is present in past versions of iOS, it is more intense in iOS 7. One reason for that is because, unlike before, it is now present when users open their app folders.

“The zoom animations everywhere on the new iOS 7 are literally making me nauseous and giving me a headache,” iOS 7 user Ensorceled wrote on an Apple product forum. “It’s exactly how I used to get car sick if I tried to read in the car. How do I turn them off? Do I have to revert to 6?”

The Apple operating system uses a ‘parallax’ effect in their digital display which is designed to make the phone screen appear more 3D. Technology which causes images to ‘pop out’ at the viewer has long been known to cause headaches because our eyes naturally converge to focus on an object moving closer. But because, in reality, we’re still looking at a flat and unmoving surface the eyes are fooled and become strained.

John Golding, professor of applied psychology at the University of Westminster, says visually-induced motion-sickness often arises from “the induction of perceived self-motion while at the same time the vestibular system and somatosensory systems signal that the body is in fact static”.

Cynthia Ryan, executive director of the Vestibular Disorders Association, says 3D effects can cause “intense nausea, dizziness and vertigo”, sometimes from general vision problems, but also from visual-vestibular conflict. She added symptoms “manifest more severely if a viewer already has a disorder of the vestibular system”.

As the Guardian reports, similar symptoms can also arise from neurological conditions that cause central dizziness. Matt Gemmell, an independent iOS developer, thought it made sense that those with such conditions “would find some parts of the new iOS 7 interface uncomfortable or disorienting,” because it “makes more extensive use of animations — and those animations are more pronounced”.

It’s possible to reduce the problem but not to eliminate it entirely. Users, unfortunately, cannot go back to iOS 6. The only real “solution” is to go to Settings>General>Accessibility, then find “Reduce Motion” and turn it on. However, this doesn’t completely fix the problem. It takes care of the parallax effect, but doesn’t get rid of the quick zooming.

If Apple won’t fix the problem entirely, maybe application developers can help. James Thomson, the creator of calculator app PCalc, has already created a function that disables animation in the iOS 7 version of his app, Stuff magazine reported.

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