Apple’s iOS7 Causing Vertigo And Dizziness
According to recent online complaints at Apple AAPL -0.74%’s tech support, and well as other online forums, Apple’s new iOS7 operating system for iPhones and iPads may be the source of nausea, dizziness, motion sickness and headaches in new users as they tap on various apps to open them or to simply unlock their device. The effects may be more pronounced in those who already suffer from bouts of vertigo, migraines or periodic episodes of carsickness or seasickness.
Zoom animation, which creates the effect of data zooming in and out as you tap on an icon—splashing or “flying into and out of the screen”–may be responsible for the perceived nausea, headaches and dizziness which a number of consumers have recently described. Although zoom animation was integrated in previous iOS versions, it’s presence was much less compared to now, each time an app folder is opened.
iOS7 user complaints may ultimately be related to the common condition referred to as vertigo–often described as the sensation of movement related to your surroundings, or more appropriately, a “spinning” sensation.
“I just thought that I had a stomach virus or something–with intense nausea–and it began after I started using iOS7″, said New York-based casting producer, Lisa Singer.
Singer, who occasionally suffers from carsickness, explained that she had to put it down for a few days to see if it was ultimately related to her symptoms. When she began to use her iPad again, her symptoms immediately returned. She is convinced that iOS7 is related to her symptoms.
It turns out that dizziness, motion sickness and vertigo are all ultimately related to your sense of balance and equilibrium. This sense is often described as spatial orientation because it tells the brain where the body is
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 10: Apple’s Craig Federighi, Vice President of Software Engineering, introduces iOS7 at a keynote address during the 2013 Apple WWDC at the Moscone Center on June 10, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Apple’s annual developer conference runs through June 14. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
located in space at any given time—the direction it is moving, whether you are moving forwards, backwards or standing still, as well as which general direction you are heading. Your balance is actually the result of coordinated workings of four different aspects of your nervous system. Your eyes monitor the directions of motion and where your body is located in space, while the inner ears (labyrinth) serve to evaluate directions of motion including up- down, forward- backward, turning or side to side. Special receptors on the joints and muscles also help to describe movement of the body parts, while other specialized skin pressure receptors located in the spine and joints can differentiate whether various parts of the body are oriented toward the floor or ground and in contact with it. Finally the brain and spinal cord comprising the central nervous system integrate all of the incoming data and signals to produce a sense of balance at any given time.
The symptoms of dizziness and motion sickness develop when there is an imbalance or conflict in incoming data to the central nervous system. To demonstrate this concept, imagine you are on a cruise ship in a storm, being tossed about by the waves. It turns out that your eyes do not perceive the intense motion because you only see the inside of the ship. Subsequently, your brain receives messages that do not match with each other. The result is that you may become “sea sick”. This leads to mixed messages to the brain related to your sensation of orientation and rotational axis, and you could suffer a sense of nausea, dizziness, sense of spinning or headaches.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a common form of vertigo which may develop after sudden movements of the head, and associated with inner ear inflammation and migraine headaches, is often described as a “spinning” sensation. It may be sudden in onset, associated with nausea, vomiting and rapid sideways movements of the eyes, may often be triggered car rides or a gentle to and fro swaying when you are in a boat with big waves. Special crystals in the semicircular canals of the ear may become dislodged, leading to the sensation of spinning and dizziness.
Opening an app in iOS7 re-creates a rapid sensation of movement, affecting sensory integration from the eyes and inner vestibular system to the brain, which may be responsible for complaints such as nausea, vomiting and dizziness or the sensation of spinning or movement.
Apple has recommended that users go into the SETTINGS function of their phone to enable the function, “reduce motion”. (Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> “Reduce Motion”) This only helps with the parallax effect and may not be an ultimate fix to the problem. General feedback thus far in various user forums indicates that it may not be helping to reduce the degree of motion sickness. Switching back to iOS6 –for those with continued symptoms –is another option which Apple may need to address in the near future.
Other tips to alleviate the symptoms of such motion sickness include looking away from the screen, fixating on a distant point for 1-2 minutes to reduce the sensation of nausea and dizziness. Simply closing your eyes as the icons open and close may be even more helpful.
Medications including antihistamines (meclizine or dramamine), phenothiazines (promethazine or prochlorperazine), as well as benzodiapines (diazepam or lorazepam) may help to ameliorate symptoms– along with keeping your self well hydrated and reducing caffeine and salt intake.
Non-pharmacologic approaches for reducing the sensation of vertigo include various forms of physical therapy. The Epley maneuver can help to reposition crystals in the semicircular canals of the inner ear which may have become displaced, leading to symptoms of nausea vomiting or dizziness. Please consult your healthcare provider to discuss the various approaches to your symptoms.