I’ve been dealing with eye strain issues on certain Apple devices ever since I tried the iPhone X back in 2016. Since then, the list of unusable Apple products has grown much larger, and I thought I’d write down my findings and potentially try to find others with a similar device compatibility set. I’ve noticed a few key things that may be helpful in narrowing down what’s going on here.
To start off, here’s what I can use with no symptoms & what I can’t use without feeling some symptoms:
-iPhone 8+ (All iPhones before this are fine as well)
-iPad 6th Gen
-iPad 7th Gen
-Macbook Pro 2015
-iPhone X/XS/11 Pro (PWM)
-iPad Pro 2018
-iPad Air 2019
-iPad 8th Gen
-Macbook Pro 16” 2019
Now, the OLED devices are kind of self-explanatory (PWM), but I was really surprised when I got the XR (LCD screen, has no PWM) and started having similar symptoms as with the OLED devices (After using the device for 20-30 mins, my eyes would feel itchy, and I’d have a throbbing pain around them). This continued when I got the 11, iPad Pro 2018, iPad Air, etc, they all gave me the same symptoms.
Just to make 100% sure this wasn’t any kind of user-changeable software/hardware thing, I have thoroughly messed with every possible display setting on iOS, and have gone as far as blocking out the Face ID sensor (Though I still get symptoms on non-Face ID devices anyway). I’ve also seen several eye doctors, been checked for glasses, etc, no dice.
So, the point of all this is: Based on my list of usable devices, the one thing that stands out to me the most is the A12 chip. Disregarding the iPhone X/XS/11 Pro (PWM), the clear cutoff of when these LCD devices started giving me symptoms is if they have the A12 (Or better) chip or not. I got this idea because a friend of mine let me use his new iPad 8th Gen recently, and I had the same symptoms. Considering that the 8th Gen is EXACTLY the same as the 7th gen aside from the A12 chip, I believe that this may be the main factor of whether a device will cause eye strain for us. Though, I have no idea what exactly Apple did with this chip, it may be that they started doing something graphics-wise in these A12+ devices (Temporal dithering? Some other kind of flickering? No clue).
Considering all of this, I’m posting this in hopes that there are others who have this same set of symptoms with these devices, and hopefully we can compare experiences with other devices or potentially come up with solutions. I’m especially interested in hearing if people with these same issues have problems with devices like the iPad Mini 2019 and iPhone SE 2020, as they have the A12 chip as well & I haven’t been able to test those out.
Most importantly, I also think it would be helpful to have an ongoing thread where we can discuss new devices as they come out and see if they give us the same issues. So, if your symptoms seem to only happen while on an A12 or better iOS device, please feel free to share your situation and let’s see if we can figure this out.