iPhone 14 Pro Always-On Display: How it Works, What It Looks Like, Impact on Battery Life, and More
The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max feature an always-on display for the first time on iPhone, which lets users glance at their phone to see key information, including the time, their wallpaper, and iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets and Live Activities.
Since the iPhone 14 Pro is the first iPhone to include an always-on display, there are several unknowns about how the feature will work, what it will look like, whether it will be customizable, and how it will impact battery life. We answer those questions and more below about the new feature of Apple's highest-end iPhone.
How Does it Work?
To enable the always-on display, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max feature a more advanced OLED panel with a more variable refresh rate. Whereas the previous-generation iPhone 13 Pro has a variable refresh rate of between 10Hz and 120Hz, the new OLED panel in the iPhone 14 Pro can go as low as 1Hz to enable a new Low Power mode, which preserves battery life with the always-on display.
What Does It Look Like?
The always-on display on the iPhone 14 Pro is heavily inspired by the iOS 16 Lock Screen. When the always-on display is activated, iOS intelligently darkens the wallpaper and shows the time, widgets, and, if any are active, Live Activities. Other visual elements of the Lock Screen, including information in the status bar and the flashlight and camera shortcuts, are not shown.
Can You Customize the Always-On Display?
Given that the new iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have not shipped to customers yet, we don't know what customization features Apple will provide for the always-on display. It remains likely, however, that the always-on display will not be directly customizable but will instead adapt to your customized iOS 16 Lock Screen.
Will Older iPhones Get the Always-On Display?
No. The always-on display on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max is enabled thanks to the more advanced display hardware. As a result, it won't be coming to older iPhones, including last year's iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Last year's iPhone, however, will benefit from the redesigned iOS 16 Lock Screen from which the iPhone 14 Pro's always-on display design stems.
Will It Impact My Battery Life?
Apple says that thanks to the new display technology, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are power efficient. The new display is paired with the A16 Bionic chip with a new Display Engine to run the always-on display, which will help control and manage power efficiency.
In terms of actual battery life promises, Apple says the iPhone 14 Pro Max lasts for up to 29 hours when watching videos (up from 28 hours on the previous iPhone 13 Pro Max), up to 25 hours for streaming video (no improvement), and up to 95 hours for audio playback (no improvement).
It's also possible that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max feature physically larger batteries to compensate for the possible increased energy consumption caused by the always-on display, but we'll have to wait for a teardown to know for sure.