Following my previous work on iOS 7 and balance/motion issues, I was asked to write about the subject for The Guardian. My article Why iOS 7 is making some users sick talks to developers (one of whom suffers from motion sickness), vestibular disorder experts, and John Golding, professor of applied psychology at the University of Westminster. The article provides, I believe, a succinct and thorough overview of the problem and what Apple can do to fix it, and yet still there are doubters and naysayers. Therefore, I’d like to address a few comments I’ve been repeatedly receiving or seeing over the past week:
The Reduce Motion option fixes the problem. Actually, it does very little—it merely turns off the parallax effect on home screens, and not zooms/slide transitions. It does help some people but not others.
Not everyone with motion sickness is affected, and so those who claim they are must be lying. Nope. These disorders affect people very differently. Just because you can’t read in a car and yet iOS 7 doesn’t affect you, that doesn’t mean others will have the same experience. Also, just because you aren’t affected, that doesn’t mean countless others won’t be. Just be thankful—not a troll.
Screen-based motion/balance problems cannot happen because of small screens. This is something I’ve seen in the recent glut of US-based articles. If this were the case, no-one would be suffering. (My own theory is that devices are bright and tend to be used fairly close to your face, and so although peripheral vision exists to anchor you, the screen overrides that.)
The slide transitions were never a problem before, so they can’t be now. Actually, they always were, and they continue to be in Windows 8, Android and other operating systems. The problem with iOS 7 is the overall effect is worse. Also, Apple usually does better when it comes to accessibility. Here, it’s dropped the ball.
This story only exists because the press needs to bash Apple again and again. I don’t doubt there’s going to be an element of that. Apple stories get page views. An Apple problem gets more. But this is about accessibility and disability. I didn’t really care about the iPhone 4 antenna. It was a mild issue with a product that could be dealt with easily. I do care about people who are adversely affected by using their devices.
I’m some kind of Apple hater. This one’s particularly fun, because I’m usually accused of being an Apple fan-boy. If I’m a hater, that comes as quite a surprise, what with me being a contributor to a bunch of Mac mags and owning a reasonably diverse selection of Apple kit.
People are idiots for upgrading. Not everyone reads tech blogs. Almost no-one reads upgrade notes. Most people see an upgrade button and tap or click it without thinking. Importantly, even those who do might not have had any motion/balance problems before iOS 7. I knew what I was potentially letting myself in for, being a tech journo, although the end result was actually worse than I’d feared it would be—at least on the iPad. But I’d say a tech journo is rather more of an outlier than a typical consumer!
If you are having issues with iOS 7, please share the stories I’ve written, and write your own. Most importantly, tell Apple by emailing a succinct explanation of your problems to firstname.lastname@example.org, and request the means to disable relevant features.
If you’re not having issues with iOS 7, please just have a little empathy. I realise it’s hard to understand invisible conditions if you don’t suffer from them, but they are very real, and they affect many millions of people daily.