If you’re sick of repeatedly having to upgrade your phone’s operating system, just rest assured things could be worse. Dozens of iPhone users are reporting that animated menus in iOS 7 are making them literally nauseous.
Two separate features seem to be causing the problems. One is the parallax effect, which makes the background behind the icons appear to move when you tilt the phone, creating more of a floating, three-dimensional approach.
The other is a zooming animation: when you click on an icon, the icon stretches to fill the screen (as if you were zooming into it), transitioning on the way from the icon itself to the app content.
Both look impressive (unless they’ve ground an older phone to a halt or run down the battery), but it seems not everyone appreciates the experience. Just one discussion on the topic on the Apple support forum already has nearly 200 replies, the vast majority of people complaining of dizziness, headaches, nausea and other symptoms more commonly associated with car or motion sickness.
To make things worse, the issue has picked up momentum just as Apple pulled the plug on users who’ve upgraded being able to revert to iOS 6.
As always with such a well-selling product and widely-used system, it’s hard to assess exactly how widespread the problem is and what proportion of users are affected. It does certainly raise the question of whether this is something Apple should have been expected to pick up in testing, or at least anticipate as a potential hazard.
The good news is that you can somewhat reduce the effects by opening the Settings menu, going into the General and then Accessibility sections and switching on the Reduce Motion option. This will dramatically reduce the parallax effect, though won’t change the zoom animations.
Apple staff have asked users to formally report the issue as a bug report or feature request, so it’s possible the zoom could become optional after a future update. Alternatively there’s a theory that the problem could actually be solved by making the animations a little faster as this would be enough to stop the eye trying to keep up.