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Apple’s new iPhone 11 criticised by people with trypophobia


Apple’s new iPhone 11 has finally been unveiled.

But, while most tech fans are applauding the updated design and looking forward to trying out its improved features, others are far from impressed.

As part of its overhaul, the Pro Max version of the new phone features three camera lenses on its back face.


As well as the standard camera, and the zoom version that arrived in recent iPhones, it also has an “ultra-wide camera” that can allow for images that take in twice as much as the previous phone.

While the trio of lenses is likely to prove useful when it comes to capturing photos, some people have said the new design element is “triggering” their trypophobia – the fear of closely spaced bumps or holes.

Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller speaks about the iPhone during the Apple Special Event in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, USA, 10 September 2019 (EPA/JOHN G. MABANGLO)

People with the aversion to holes have shared their discomfort with the newest iPhone designs on social media, with person comparing the feature to “spider eyes”.

“The #iphone11 needs a trypophobia trigger warning,” one person tweeted.

Another joked: “New iPhone 11 giving me trypophobia feeling. Don’t be flexing that ugly a** phone around me if you buy it [sic].”



A third person agreed, adding: “Three cameras on the new iPhone actually triggers my trypophobia. I can’t have people walking around me with those cameras every day.”

While another wrote: “They look like spider faces and activate my trypophobia. All aboard the iPhone 11 NOPE train… choo-chooooooooo.”



Others joked that later versions of the iPhone could see the rear of the device completely covered in cameras.

“Coming soon: iPhone 15 – it’s all cameras!” one person tweeted.



According to Dr Laura Keyes, a clinical psychologist, trypophobia is not officially recognised as a mental health difficulty and the term has only been coined in the last decade. 

As well as the iPhone cameras, Keyes tells the BBC that plants and food can be another trigger for people with the phobia, including seed pods, Honeycomb, strawberries, Swiss cheese and even the froth in coffee.

A Nelumbo Nucifera fruit in botanic garden Adelaid (Wiki commons)

A 2016 study conducted by Essex University found that up to 16 per cent of people (18 per cent of females and 11 per cent of males) feel distressed after looking at images of clustered holes, adding that the revulsion could be rooted in biology.

The researchers collected 10 images of the top 10 poisonous species to show to their trypophobia patients, including the blue-ringed octopus, the Brazilian wandering spider, the deathstalker scorpion and the poison dart frog.

Blue poison dart frog

“There may be an ancient evolutionary part of the brain telling people that they are looking at a poisonous animal,” Dr Cole, the study’s lead author, said.

Despite trypophobia not being officially recognised as a phobia, many people claim that it is real, including Love Island contestant Yewande Biala who spoke about suffering from the phobia earlier this year.

“Do you know there’s some weird sponges and they have loads and loads of little circles? It creeps me out,” the 23-year-old scientist told fellow contestant Michael Griffiths.


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