iOS 13's Dark Mode Extends OLED iPhone Battery Life, Test Confirms

When Dark Mode was marketed as a headline feature in iOS 13, Apple promoted it as an alternative new look that was easier on the eyes when viewed in dark environments. Oddly though, Apple never mentioned that it also potentially offers energy-saving benefits – particularly for OLED iPhones, since pixels on an OLED panel are individually powered and true black pixels remain inactive.


That potential battery saving has now been put to the test. In an experiment shared on YouTube, PhoneBuff used robotic arms to interact with two fully charged iPhones running ‌iOS 13‌, with one running in ‌Dark Mode‌ and the other in Light mode. The robots worked their way through various native and third-party apps, all of which support both iOS display modes, until the iPhones died.

The results are pretty conclusive: The test found that an iPhone XS Max using ‌Dark Mode‌ uses up significantly less battery than an ‌iPhone XS‌ Max using Light Mode. When the Light Mode-enabled ‌iPhone XS‌ Max died, the ‌Dark Mode‌ ‌iPhone XS‌ Max still had 30 percent battery life remaining.


PhoneBuff notes one important variable in his test that conditioned the results: The iPhones both had their displays set to 200 nits brightness. At 100 nits, which is what you'd expect indoors, two hours on Twitter saved just 5 percent more battery in ‌Dark Mode‌. The same test performed at 300 nits, which is closer to outdoors use, saw ‌Dark Mode‌ save 12 percent battery.

Either way, the test appears to prove that ‌Dark Mode‌ is a significant battery saver for OLED iPhones, which include the iPhone X, ‌iPhone XS‌, and iPhone 11 Pro, but not the iPhone XR or iPhone 11. You can watch the video embedded above for the full lowdown.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iOS 13, iPadOS, iPhone 11 Pro

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
23 weeks ago
Well, duh.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 weeks ago
So wait, you're saying that when you use less power the battery will last longer?

Mindblowing.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 weeks ago
Everyone is throwing their sarcasm around, but before this was officially released there was a ton of discussion that users wouldn't even notice a change in battery life.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 weeks ago
Why didn’t he use the same device tho ... as in two XS Max or two XS.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 weeks ago


Would Dark Mode also help in a Mabbook Pro laptop?

No, it wouldn't actually!

Here's why:
The MacBook Pro uses an LCD display. LCD displays work by back-lighting the entire screen uniformly, then shining that through some crystals that poralise the light such that it either can or cannot come through.

Thus, regardless of the colour presented, you get the same amount of battery drain.

However, turning down the screen brightness does save power, but that also diminishes the whites. (which may or may not be a good thing)

OLED screens emit the light they need to emit per pixel. There is no backlight. Therefore a black pixel uses less power than a white one, because it requires more power to make more light.

==================================

lol @ all the people saying "well, duh". Just because it seems obvious doesn't mean it isn't worth investigating and confirming.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 weeks ago
XS Max with bigger battery against XS. Unless it’s just a typo this test is completely invalid as the Max is expected to last longer.

“The test found that an iPhone XS Max using Dark Mode uses up significantly less battery than an iPhone XS using Light Mode.”
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 With New Mail Toolbar, iCloud Folder Sharing, Trackpad Support for iPad and More

Tuesday March 24, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4, the latest major updates to the iOS 13 operating system that was released in September. iOS and iPadOS 13.4 come two months after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1 with Screen Time Communication Limits. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4 With Screen Time Communication Limits and Real-Time Apple Music Lyrics

Tuesday March 24, 2020 10:21 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the fourth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 comes a couple of months after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.3. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. The macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update...

Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models

Tuesday March 24, 2020 12:38 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week introduced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive in the hands of customers starting this week. Apple introduced a nifty new Magic Keyboard with trackpad alongside the new iPad Pro models that's coming in May, but it also debuted a new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is available now. We picked up the Smart Keyboard Folio for the designed for the 2020 iPad...

Apple Helps Source Over 10 Million N95 Masks for Healthcare Providers in the U.S.

Wednesday March 25, 2020 10:25 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple over the weekend announced plans to donate millions of N95 masks to hospitals in the United States and Europe, and according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has been able to source more than 10 million N95 masks in the U.S. and millions more in Europe. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Saturday that Apple was aiming to donate supplies to healthcare providers fighting COVID-19, and clarified...

Apple Considering Delaying iPhone 12 Launch 'by Months'

Wednesday March 25, 2020 12:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is preparing to delay the launch of the 2020 iPhones expected to be equipped with 5G technology, according to sources with knowledge of Apple's plans that spoke to Japanese news site Nikkei. Apple has reportedly held internal discussions about the possibility of delaying the launch "by months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation, and supply chain sources...

2020 iPad Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday March 24, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple last week introduced new iPad Pro models with an similar performing A12Z Bionic chip, an Ultra Wide camera for 0.5x zoom, and a LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality. The new iPad Pro models will begin arriving to customers and go on sale at select stores starting tomorrow, and ahead of time, the first unboxing videos have surfaced. The new iPad Pro models will be compatible with A...

Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

Wednesday March 25, 2020 2:10 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week announced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of today, the new iPads are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what's new and whether it's worth buying. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, the new iPad Pro models are identical to the 2018 iPad Pro models, but ...

Mobile Networks in Multiple Countries Display 'Stay Home' Message When Users Connect to Cellular Instead of WiFi

Tuesday March 24, 2020 3:46 pm PDT by Juli Clover
iPhone users in several countries who disconnect from WiFi on their devices will see a "Stay Home" message at the top of the Control Center where cellular network information is displayed. Image via Matt Navarra According to reports on Twitter, the status bar messages are showing up in countries that include Germany, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Turkey, India, Luxembourg, Romania,...

Apple Releases tvOS 13.4 for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV Models

Tuesday March 24, 2020 9:53 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released tvOS 13.4, the third major update to the tvOS operating system that runs on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS 13.4 comes a couple of months after the release of tvOS 13.3.1. tvOS 13.4, a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System > Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software ...

Benchmarks Suggest New iPad Pro's A12Z Chip is Nearly Identical to A12X in 2018 iPad Pro

Monday March 23, 2020 7:18 pm PDT by Juli Clover
One of the new 2020 iPad Pro models equipped with an A12Z chip arrived early to a Reddit user, who did some benchmarking tests to see how it performs. In a Geekbench 5 test, the 11-inch 2020 iPad Pro earned a single-core score of 1114 and a multi-core score of 4654, which is close to the Geekbench scores of the 11-inch iPad Pro from 2018. The 11-inch iPad Pro has an aggregate single-core G...