Within hours of iOS 7’s release, some users complained it was triggering vertigo and nausea symptoms.
The cause was more ‘aggressive’ animations prevalent throughout the operating system, as first reported by Stuff; the Reduce Motion option found within the Settings app’s Accessibility section merely disabled the faux-3D parallax effect seen on iOS home screens.
As of iOS 7.0.3, the same control now also replaces most of the system’s zoom animations with crossfades. These include the zooms that occur when opening/closing folders or launching/quitting apps.
Fair and balanced
Developer Jenni Leder tells Stuff: “Closing my eyes with every action on the iPhone had become second-nature; I did it without even realising it.” As of iOS 7.0.3, Leder says that she can “finally use an iPhone like a normal person again,” and adds that she is “utterly shocked and extremely thankful Apple responded so quickly”.
Apple’s update has largely gone down well with users who don’t suffer from vestibular or balance disorders. Games developer Cameron Davis says that it “feels faster and less like I’m closing one app to go to another — it’s now more like switching”. App developer Mike Rundle concurs: “The crossfade animation brings a whole different feel to iOS. Instead of moving around, it’s like everything is always ready.”
The Parallax View
Not everyone is as keen. Designer Chris Mousdale says he “prefers the zoom, because it gives you some level of direction”. By comparison, he thought the crossfade was “static and disorientating”. Graphic designer Chris Jones complains that Apple has not provided users with more granular settings for Reduce Motion: “I like the zoom effect, and luckily it doesn’t affect me, but I do have Reduce Motion on to remove parallax. I’m disappointed in iOS 7.0.3 that it’s all or nothing.”
Still, Marissa Christina, whose Spin Sisters podcasts explore living with chronic dizziness, calls Apple’s changes a “huge win for the vestibular community”. Like Leder, Christina said iOS 7.0.3 makes it possible to use her iPhone, although she maintains that there is room for improvement: “I’d like to see other things included in Reduce Motion, such as the Messages bounce, transitions between screens, app-switcher animations, and Safari tab animations”. She hopes that Apple will assemble a motion-sensitive user group, in order for the company to better understand users with related disabilities.