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Some iOS 7 Users Reporting 'Cybersickness' Symptoms

TMCnet Feature

September 30, 2013

Some iOS 7 Users Reporting 'Cybersickness' Symptoms

By Tracey E. Schelmetic
TMCnet Contributor

If you’re the sort of person who gets motion sickness easily, you want to avoid: the back seats of cars, boats, 3D and IMAX movies, and even waterbeds. But what about your new iPhone?

There are reports that the latest release of Apple’s (News - Alert) operating system for both the iPhone and iPad, iOS 7, is making the more easily nauseated of us a little bit queasy. Some industry experts are saying that the sharpness of the screen’s graphics, together with the motion of the icons, is to blame…so pass the Dramamine.

According to an NBC News article, some users are reporting side effects of nausea, headaches and vertigo, and they began posting the complaints on Apple's support website on or around Sept. 18, when the new iOS was released.

"I just used my phone for about 20 minutes, and now I feel like I'm going to vomit," posted one user. Another said, "It's exactly how I used to get car sick if I tried to read in the car."

There is an official term for this kind of malady: experts called it “cybersickness,” or motion sickness that is induced by virtual reality environments. Although originally coined to describe the illness resulting from head-steered virtual reality systems, there is evidence that certain graphics even on hand-held devices can induce the sensation. Motion sickness, of course, occurs when the visual input your brain is receiving doesn’t match what your body is feeling, which leads your body to act like it has been poisoned: vomiting is intended to inject the “poison.”

In iOS 7, the icons on the desktop move just slightly, so it actually induces a kind of 3D visual effect in many people…hence the motion sickness. The sensation is apparently producing more effects in susceptible users with iPads, since the screen is larger and the effect is therefore amplified.

iOS 7 software comes preinstalled on all new iPhone (News - Alert) 5c and 5s models. Some users who are experiencing the negative effects have looked into the possibility of “downgrading” to iOS 6 on the phone, which Apple says isn’t a possibility. Some users have found relief by changing the settings on the phone (go to “Settings,” then “General” and then “Accessibility,” where you can then choose “Reduce Motion.”)

Failing that, say experts, just be sure to take your eyes off the screen now and then to let your brain reorient.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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