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Home / Tips and Tricks / How Dark Mode Can Extend Battery Life on OLED Phones

How Dark Mode Can Extend Battery Life on OLED Phones



Did you know your phone might last longer? It's true! Well, sometimes-it's complicated. It depends on the technology in your screen, and / or your phone takes advantage of it.

It's all about the OLED

It's obvious that brighter screens are using more electricity, and it's getting better and better. But that's only part of the equation. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and OLED (Organic Light-emitting Diode) are used for their screen panels.

LCD screens have been around for a long, long time, and have become the primary technology for electronic displays of big, boxy CRT monitors and TVs in the late 90s and early 2000s. Today's LCD screens use a light-emitting diode to shine through a colored grid of pixels, each containing red, green, and blue cells. This combination of technology is called LED LCD, or sometimes just "LED screen" for short. That makes the next bit a little confusing.

An organic LED (OLED) uses a building process that uses both the pixel grid and the backlight into a single element: each pixel is its own light. There are a lot of advantages to this, including superior contrast ratios, more vivid color saturation, and better efficiency. But for our purposes, it is a black-and-white color OLED screen, it's actually turned off-that's part of the screen A close-up of the RGB matrix on an OLED screen.

Phone manufacturers know this, and they 've started to take advantage of it. Motorola got the trend started with its Moto X back in 201

2. The phone used on "always on" display. The always-on-screen uses a tiny amount of electricity in this mode, less than 1% of an hour, thanks to the power advantages of dark interfaces on an OLED panel.

How Much Battery Life Can Save Dark Interfaces?

Having a nearly all-black screen can save a ton of battery life. They are showing black and white, and OLEDs do not have significant power savings unless they are completely black. So how much power can you save?

More than you might think. Google explored this question on Android in general and its own apps in particular. According to a presentation on YouTube, it can save between 15% and 60% of battery life versus the typical white-backed user interface. [19659011] This is a dramatic improvement in Google's now includes a dark mode in Android itself, and as it is. It's not like that, but it does not matter how much you use it. That's the difference between fetching at over at the end of the evening. Of course, this is contingent upon your phone using an OLED screen instead of an LCD.

Does my phone use an OLED screen?

OLED screens are the most expensive mobile phones on the market in 2018 , for a variety of reasons. Samsung has been a big proponent of their use, sticking them in almost every Galaxy-branded phone (and even some tablets) for several years. Google's Pixel line of Android phones uses OLED panels, as do flagships from LG, Motorola, Sony, and OnePlus. IPhones and the less expensive iPhone XR do not.

Flagship phones from Apple, Google, and Samsung use OLED screens.

If you're not sure If your phone is using on LCD or OLED, do a quick Google search. Search for your specific model and "specifications," which should be a full list of technical specs on the first or second result. If it's marked as "OLED," then that's the tech your screen uses, and it can save battery with darker apps. If it says "LED" (without the O) or "LCD," then it will not greatly benefit from a darker user interface.

Oh, and some manufacturers use even more complex acronym, AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode). AMOLED and OLED are the same.

Using Darker Apps and Interfaces

The feature is still silent not great. There are a lot of Android apps that offer a lot of "black," "night," or even "OLED" options, but this is missing in a lot of the major mobile apps like Facebook or WhatsApp.

As mentioned earlier, Google seems to be taking the lead among major mobile software developers. Within individual Google applications on Android and iOS, look in the app's primary settings menu for "Dark Theme" and enable the toggle. Current Google apps that feature a dark mode include Phone, Contacts, YouTube, News, and Messages, and more should be added soon.

Twitter's first-party mobile app offers a dark mode option. To activate it, tap your profile icon. On Android, tap "Night Mode." On iOS, the moon icon at the bottom of the crescent moon icon.

The official Reddit mobile app has a Night Fashion, specifically labeled as beneficial for AMOLED screens, accessible from its main settings menu. This is Samsung's first-party web browser messaging app, and many smaller applications.

Android OS itself offers a "Dark" device theme as of version 9.0 (Pie): it's accessible from the Device Theme menu in Display Settings. Note that this is in Google's stock version of Android, seen on the Pixel phones and precious few others: even if your phone gets upgraded to Android 9.0, it does not necessarily mean you have this option enabled. It's also limited to just a few portions of the interface, though it's a more extensive theme. A less intuitive alternative is to enable the Inverted Colors option, which would most likely require access to-but this will simply disguise the color on your entire device.

Samsung phones have basic theme support, but no dark mode or night mode at the time of writing. However, the upcoming "One" interface overhaul, soon to be released in software updates for the newest phones and expected to ship as default on the Galaxy S10,

[19659020] What about the iPhone? Apple's theme options are limited, and it does not allow third-party apps to make changes to their own windows. But since the company has made great strides on its dark theme for MacOS on the desktop, a darker option seems like a likely inclusion in a future update. Android can.

Want even more battery savings? You can switch your phone's home screen background to get the benefit even when you're browsing applications or widgets. JPG (0,0,0 on the RGB scale)

What If I Do not Have an OLED Phone? [19659003] If your phone is using on LCD screen, you will not see the dramatic power savings you would have with OLED panel. You can still benefit from this new crop of dark-fashion-after-all, there's nothing stopping you from enabling them.

A negligible effect on your phone's life, even with an LCD screen, but there are other benefits. If you're on your phone for a day (as many as you're not judging), using a darker overall interface might help you reduce eye strain, or fall asleep faster when you're finally ready to put it down. Blue light filter apps and OS tools can have a similar effect.

With OLED screen you may want to check it out. For both battery life and general use, it's a great quality of life improvement.

Image credit: FCG / Shutterstock


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