iOS 7 App-Zooming Preference Needed to Reduce Motion Sickness Complaints

| Editorial

iBagThe iBag—It Just Works™

Apple has a motion sickness problem on its hand, and it's a problem the company should fix ASAP. Complaints have been mounting since the release of iOS on September 18th, and there's enough evidence to indicate it's a serious issue for a small number of users.

The problem appears to be the way apps zoom in and out when they are launched or quit. Some folks have found that the effect induces motion sickness and nausea.

In Apple's support forums, a thread with 371 posts begins, "The zoom animations everywhere on the new iOS 7 are literally making me nauseous and giving me a headache. It's exactly how I used to get car sick if I tried to read in the car."

That comment about reading in the car has been common with these complaints. As noted above, this is something that affects a small percentage of users, but for those users, it's quite serious.

"iOS 7 has made my iPhone unusable," one user told me personally, and all she wants to solve it is the ability to turn the effect off.

"Yes, APPLE! Please allow disabling of all this ZOOMING!" gillywonk wrote on Apple's forums, another common refrain from affected users. The problem is there are no controls for the effect in iOS 7.

In addition to the forum complaints, the topic has garnered many headlines, a natural product of media hungry for Apple to make a mistake. Frankly, I think this topic qualifies as just that, a mistake.

It's hard to understand how this problem escaped detection during the design and developer beta testing process. In retrospect—and things always look so easy in retrospect—it's hard to understand how the ability to turn app zooming off wasn't part of the accessibility controls included in iOS.

Perhaps developers and designers are less prone to this form of motion sickness? I'd be surprised if that's so, but one way or another the problem is real and it needs to be fixed. Hopefully it will be a component of the next maintenance release for iOS 7, or Apple's next iPhone accessory might have to be that iBag.

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Exactly what percentage of people have motion sickness with this OS?
I love the parallax thing and the zoom.
I have zero problem with it at all. It seem like it has gotten a lot of buzz as media folks and anti-apple posers seem to want to make it a overwhelming issue. There seem to be 2-3 pieces a day on the yahoo feed about people getting so sick.
I would love to see numbers on who is getting so sick by simply looking at their phone.

1 our of 100. 2 out of 100 or 1 out of 1,000?


I don’t think it’s hard to understand how it escaped detection: it’s rare. It’s also possible that people self-select for jobs like developer. If you have a bad reaction to things zooming around on a screen I think you’re more likely to pursue a different kind of career than programming.


paikinho: I’m one of the affected. After 10 minutes with iOS 7, i had to sit with my eyes closed and my head between my knees to keep from vomiting. Every time i launch an app, close an app, or do anything that causes zooming, I have to look away from my phone. I’ve turned off the parallax effect, but that has not improved the experience for me. Other than this issue, I’m actually quite pleased with the OS update. I did write an overly-polite email (that even my mother would approve of) to regarding this issue. Their response to my individual complaint was…underwhelming. But I do expect that they’ll eventually offer an option to disable this effect.

Lee Dronick

Jinkies do you think that you might get used to it? Like how a sailor can get his sea legs?


Hilarious. Hoisted by their own petards, again.


Lee: It hasn’t improved since installation (which I did on the 20th) and if I accidentally don’t look away in time, I feel queasy. I’m not really up for watching it over and over again to try and condition myself. I also should’t have to, but that’s a conversation to have with some customer service drone at Apple.


I do not mind a preference setting, but I would be highly disappointed if the few destroy the new animations for the many. I absolutely love the new effects. It gives the OS the feeling of layers. It is wonderful. The attention to detail is also amazing.

Bryan Chaffin

Removing the zoom isn’t the answer. An option to turn it off is.


It would be fascinating as to WHY this is happening. The zoom in iOS6 and in OS-X doesn’t induce nausea. How is an animation effect on a 4” screen enough to cause a symptom that normally requires a car or a boat effecting the whole body.

Bryan Chaffin

Good question, geoduck.


I have the same reaction as geoduck…i’m not sure how the zoom effect is that much different in iOS7 then iOS 6.  Have the people reporting this problem activated the “Reduce Motion” option in the Accessibility options? In any event, it appears that Apple’s best course of action is to just provide a way to turn off the zooming effect in question.

Lee Dronick

“For ‘tis the snort we watch the drear
fishboy distort the Bard”

It didn’t happen under iOS 6, but that has a much different look. Put in a differnet color, change a stroke weight, or something and it might not happen. Or it could happen to other people and not affect those currently experiencing it. Anyway as Bryan says, an option to turn it off is the answer.


I wonder if the distress some are suffering is because in iOS7 the screen doesn’t just zoom in or out to/from the centre of the display.

In iOS7 the zoom seems to zoom in/out from the point on the screen where the app you’re launching is located ? The same applies when exiting an app.


Has anyone affected by this tried to turn on the ‘Reduce Motion’ setting in Accessibility?

Not sure what it all changes, but it seems related.


Bryan Chaffin

Several people have, iVoid (and others), and it doesn’t help. It reduces the parallax effect, FYI.


Some speculation on motion sickness: Its probably caused by some peoples extra sensitivity for discrepance between visual cues for motion and other sensory cues. Therefore sitting in the front seat, focusing on the road, or even better, driving oneself, increase correspondence between visual and other sensory cues, and reduces car sickness. The zoom effect mimics visual cues for rather strong axelleration in space, but on a small screen its insignificant for the vast majority. Adding a sideway twist may push some people over a treshold for nausea. Other details may also increase the cool of the zoom for the rest of us. But in rare cases ques may push someone over a treshold for nausea. And once they are, the zooming may be conditioned to the nausea, and you avoid looking at the zoom-effect to avoid the nausea. It may not be worth the price getting used to the zoom. The “sideway” hypothesis is easily tested, though: Start and quit apps in the centre of your pad/phone vs edge in a random mix, and rate the nausea on a scale from one to five. Calculate means and look for significant mean differences :D


The preference is needed. I don’t have motion sickness, but I find the zooming affect annoying and unnecessary. It is one of the few bad things about the upgrade. Give us the preference to turn it off.


Adding to what Lafael said: In principle, motion sickness isn’t caused by some outside cues affecting your stomach. What happens is that your brain believes that your sensors are not working properly, it concludes that you must have eaten something poisonous that affects your brain or senses, and then makes you throw up in order to get rid of the poison, assuming that lots of it is still in your stomach and not processed yet.


I just had a chance to play with an iPhone with iOS7 and tried out the zoom effect. I can see how this would cause problems for some people. Rather than using a ZoomRect to suggest the app opening, they have the actual app screen zoom out from icon size to full screen. This is a lot of motion at once and it makes sense that susceptible people might get queazy with all of it going on, especially with the current Retina screens.

It would be interesting to do some tests on when the queasiness is encountered.
Is it more prevalent in iPhone or iPad users?
(The bigger screen might have an impact on how strong the influence is).
Is there an age bias, do older people run into this more than younger?
(Is how close you hold the device a factor).
Is the side effect found on people using iOS7 on an iPad2.
(No retina display).

These answers could help to sort out the root of the issue.

Twentyfortysix Aggressively Copyrighted

I call this effect “the elevator effect”.
The content moves to place you would not normaly expect. If the content always zooms to the center you can get easily used to it, but if it zooms to “random” places you can’t. It is like when you use old elevator and expect it to stop in some place but it keeps giong. Your body prepares it self to stop ( you tight up your muscles, stomach etc.) but the reality is different and so it causes a weird feeling in your body like if “the time stops”. Same thing happens in care going over a decent bump.

Because our body reaction depends from ~70% on visual feedback its easy to cause physical body changes simply by this particulary unexpected behavior when the reality moves away.


Informative additions by Gnasher and Twentyfortysix. These perspectives give ideas for what components of the effect to investigate and change. I personally enjoy the zoom and parallax in iOS7. But then I also enjoy reading when others drive the car, i enjoy take-off-accelleration in planes, are freequently the only gray-haired rollercoster rider, etc.
It illustrates the dilemma: the cooler, more vivid and suggestionizing (?) for some, the more nauseating and offensive for others. So I agree that a possibility to turn it off should be offered, just as roller-coasting and car-reading should be voluntary.

Sam Cee

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