Extreme test shows OLED iPhone X with 'dark mode' saves nearly 60% battery over 3 hours

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in iPhone
After publicizing ways to reduce power consumption on the iPhone X OLED display, AppleInsider has begun to put the methods to the test to get a feel for exactly how much power can be saved. The answer: a lot.




Earlier this week, AppleInsider published a tip detailing how to get more battery life out of your iPhone X with a trio of methods: a true black wallpaper, smart invert colors, and grayscale. These methods are known to reduce power consumption on all OLED screens, because of the nature of the display technology, and anecdotally in day to day use we found that it did, in fact, let us get more uptime out of the iPhone X.

But we decided to dig deeper and get more concrete answers regarding just how much power savings can be had from these methods.





The most impressive test we conducted was using Apple's Safari browser with the Accessibility feature smart invert colors. For our test, we set the iPhone X to maximum brightness with smart invert colors enabled, and left the browser viewing Reddit.

Reddit normally features a white background and black text, but with Apple's smart invert colors option enabled, the back of the screen is now black and the text is white. This is important because black pixels in an OLED are essentially "turned off" and consume far less power -- a stark contrast from LCD displays, where the backlight must illuminate all pixels, including black ones.

After three hours with maximum brightness and smart invert colors enabled, the iPhone X battery dropped from 100 percent to just 85 percent.

We then ran the exact same test with an iPhone X running in normal mode -- that is to say, Reddit was loaded on Safari with a white background and black test. With the backlight turned up to maximum, the battery drained from 100 percent down to 28 percent.

That means that in this extreme comparison, using smart invert colors on the iPhone X while viewing content that is traditionally bright and white, saved a whopping 58 percent of battery.




We also did three hours of testing with the true black wallpaper Apple builds into iOS 11 for iPhone X. With this, the iPhone home screen background is completely black, while icons remain normal.

For this test, smart invert colors was not enabled and we did not use grayscale.

After three hours with maximum brightness and a black wallpaper, the iPhone X battery fell from 100 percent to 77 percent.

The same test was conducted with the default, colorful wallpaper on the iPhone X, and we found that battery fell from 100 percent to 61 percent.

Switching to the true black wallpaper on iPhone X, in an extreme max-brightness test case, saved 16 percent in battery consumption.

iPhone X OLED display + grayscale + smart invert colors + low power mode = ridiculous battery life. pic.twitter.com/vXV821jXrO

-- Neil Hughes (@thisisneil)


Users could push things even further, though at greater cost to appearance and performance, by using the grayscale option built into accessibility in iOS 11.

These color-specific changes only work on the iPhone X, because its OLED display consumes more battery when showing certain colors. Tests show that pure white consumes the most, followed by blue, while green consumes the least.

With this in mind, users could take other drastic measures like adjusting the tone of the display. Night Shift mode lets users reduce the amount of blue on the screen, for example. And the iOS display accommodation settings let users reduce the intensity of bright colors, which should also make for a difference on an OLED display.

iPhones released prior to the iPhone X, which feature LCD screens, cannot take advantage of these settings. But all iPhones, including the iPhone X, will see significant power savings by reducing the brightness of the display. Apple also builds a Low Power Mode into iOS that can be turned on from Settings, or from the Control Center in iOS 11.
Avieshek
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    You guys are full-powered, no holds barred, radically enhanced Apple product reviewers! I shed tears of joy with every immersive article you all release! 

    Sinceramente! 
    AvieshekOferwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 30
    Well now I know what to do next time I'm stranded in the wilderness. Perhaps low power mode could also be engaged for even more savings.
    Avieshekwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 30
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 459member
    Great example of how simply modifying the display a bit can dramatically change battery consumption. Apple should build this into iOS. There are many people who would take advantage of it.
    Avieshekwatto_cobrafreediverx
  • Reply 4 of 30
    "Whopping"  :D

    Avieshekwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 30
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,609member
    Good job!👍🏾👏🏾
    Avieshekwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 30
    I don’t care, i carry battery pack.....i want a nice oled screen that’s why i paid premium for it.....YES
    shark5150
  • Reply 7 of 30
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,053member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    I don’t care, i carry battery pack.....i want a nice oled screen that’s why i paid premium for it.....YES
    Exactly.  The usage techniques must not be sacrificed for battery life.  Might as well just tell people to use their phones less.  

    However, it's a nice tool for those days when you may not be able to charge.  

    What does ios's low power mode do on iPhone X? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 30
    vadimyuryevvadimyuryev Posts: 106member, editor
    eriamjh said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    I don’t care, i carry battery pack.....i want a nice oled screen that’s why i paid premium for it.....YES
    Exactly.  The usage techniques must not be sacrificed for battery life.  Might as well just tell people to use their phones less.  

    However, it's a nice tool for those days when you may not be able to charge.  

    What does ios's low power mode do on iPhone X? 
    Doesn't do anything different. 

    Mail fetch, Hey Siri, background app refresh, automatic downloads, and some visual effects are reduced or turned off. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 30
    This is amazing. I was expecting maybe a 7% battery savings.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 30
    Is there an option to read appleinsider.com with black background? Like there is over at Ars Technica?
    mvmaastrichtSpamSandwichmizhouwatto_cobraktappecaladanianfreediverx
  • Reply 11 of 30
    MplsP said:
    Great example of how simply modifying the display a bit can dramatically change battery consumption. Apple should build this into iOS. There are many people who would take advantage of it.
    it IS built into iOS as the article plainly states. 
    suddenly newton
  • Reply 12 of 30
    Great info!

    "After three hours with maximum brightness and a black wallpaper, the iPhone X battery fell from 100 percent to 77 percent.

    The same test was conducted with the default, colorful wallpaper on the iPhone X, and we found that battery fell from 100 percent to 61 percent.

    Switching to the true black wallpaper on iPhone X, in an extreme max-brightness test case, saved 16 percent in battery consumption."


    An extreme case, to be sure, as most people probably wouldn't be using maximum brightness, but I would guess having a black background with high brightness might contribute to screen burn in, wouldn't it?
  • Reply 13 of 30
    Apple should make "dark mode" function like on macOS. Inverting colors and/or grayscale is a terrible choice to make to save battery life in all but the most extreme circumstances.
    caladanian
  • Reply 14 of 30
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 459member
    flydog said:
    MplsP said:
    Great example of how simply modifying the display a bit can dramatically change battery consumption. Apple should build this into iOS. There are many people who would take advantage of it.
    it IS built into iOS as the article plainly states. 
    I should have been more clear - rather than scattering the features and hiding them in the Accessability Features section, it would be much more useful for them to have a ‘power saving’ section alowing you to choose features to save battery life.

    Kuyangkoh said:
    I don’t care, i carry battery pack.....i want a nice oled screen that’s why i paid premium for it.....YES
    Everything has a trade off - you dont’ have to use any of these, but if you are a heavy user you will go through your battery more quickly. The iPHone X is a new device, but from what I’ve seen, it’s battery life is at least comparable to other devices in the same class, so you’re not being asked to compromise just to get equivalent use.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 30
    I'd like to know the measured benefit of grayscale mode. Green consumes the least, then red, then blue, and white (which is all 3 on) consumes the most. it seems grayscale would turn on blues and reds in areas that are green, to make them an appropriate shade of gray. So I would expect it to use more energy on screens dominated by greens, and possibly less when blue is the most common color. And the worst of the 3 adjustments proposed here for me would be using grayscale mode. But I haven't had any battery issues whatsoever and love the look of the screen.
    mizhouwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 30
    mammal said:
    Is there an option to read appleinsider.com with black background? Like there is over at Ars Technica?
    You took the words right out of my mouth!
    I wish this for a long time; I even read AppleInsider in Safari, and not in the app, to be able to use Safari’s black Reader mode at night. 
    mizhoucaladanian
  • Reply 17 of 30
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,695administrator
    mammal said:
    Is there an option to read appleinsider.com with black background? Like there is over at Ars Technica?
    You took the words right out of my mouth!
    I wish this for a long time; I even read AppleInsider in Safari, and not in the app, to be able to use Safari’s black Reader mode at night. 
    I'll inquire.
    mizhouwatto_cobramacguicaladanian
  • Reply 18 of 30
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 264member
    Some third party apps looked awful in this mode. SO bad that I turned this off. Maybe in a few weeks app makes will find a way to make their apps look good which this mode is set.
    watto_cobracaladanian
  • Reply 19 of 30
    ksecksec Posts: 1,485member
    According to patents filled and the current technique being used on the 5K iMac Display, Apple should have something in the pipeline for a QOLED Display, which should reduce white colour power consumption by 30% and small improvement in other colours.

    Having said that it is funny how we went a full circle from B&W Grey scale display to high dynamic Full colour, now back to B&W to save battery.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    What a myiad of options, tradeoffs, compromises, functionanomalities. While things could have just worked with a slightly thicker iPhone...
    edited November 2017 waverboy
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