iOS 18 is getting a major upgrade that solves a big problem for iPhone users

 IOS 18 logo on iPhone in person's lap.
IOS 18 logo on iPhone in person's lap.

In the last week, Apple has announced a bevy of new features and accessibility tools that will arrive with iOS 18. Among the new accessibility features announced by Apple, Vehicle Motion Cues might be the most meaningful to the greatest amount of people.

Vehicle Motion Cues are designed to help reduce motion sickness for passengers looking at their phones while in a moving vehicle, which for some can be a one-way ticket to Nausea City.

As Apple told Forbes, “Research shows that motion sickness is commonly caused by a sensory conflict between what a person sees and what they feel, which can prevent some users from comfortably using an iPhone or iPad while riding in a moving vehicle.”

When activated, Vehicle Motion Cues overlays animated dots on the screen. As the vehicle moves, your iPad or iPhone will detect the movement and animate the dots in response. The overlaid dots visualize how the vehicle is moving and help reduce sensory conflicts, which could help combat motion sickness while allowing users to read recipes or scroll through Instagram.

Take a look at this animation below from Apple that shows how the dots react to different ways the car might move.

Vehicle Motion Cues animation showing dots on an iPhone reacting to a vehicles motion
Vehicle Motion Cues animation showing dots on an iPhone reacting to a vehicles motion

As you can see, the dots only sit on the left and right side of the screen. It might be a little distracting, but such is the price to not be nauseous on a road trip.

The dots appear to move in the opposite direction in which the car is moving. So, for a left turn the dots start to flow to the right. As the car moves forward, the dots flow from the top of the screen to the bottom, and vice versa when braking and slowing down.

Apple’s examples use relatively static apps like a recipe guide or a photo feed. We’ll be curious to see how it works or responds to videos or gaming.

According to Apple, users can set Vehicle Motion Cues to go on automatically when the device senses that it is in a moving vehicle. Or the feature can be turned on and off in the Control Center.

Beyond Vehicle Motion Cues, CarPlay is getting a number of accessibility upgrades as well, including Voice control, Sound Recognition and Color filters for colorblind users.

Expect to hear a lot more about iOS and other accessibility upgrades at WWDC 2024, which kicks off June 10.

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