Dark theme really saves cell phone battery?

Dark theme really saves cell phone battery?

On Android, there are many tips for extending the battery life of a smartphone. So today I decided to resolve the doubts of many. Can the bottom of the screen also influence battery performance? Find out here if this urban legend is really true.

Most Android devices feature AMOLED or LCD technologies on their screens. Understanding the differences between these types of displays is essential to know how they interact with the battery.

IPS LCD screens

LCD LED screens have a backlight, which is like a hidden layer that is always on, and on this layer is where the LCD system is located, where the pixels determine the colors. When the screen is black, the pixels block the light, but it is still generated by the illuminated back panel.

To use an easy metaphor: it is like those moments when you go to the beach and stand under an umbrella. The sun is still there, beautiful and shining, but you don’t see it directly.

Is it possible to save battery with a black background on an LCD screen? No!

But then, does a black background save battery on an IPS LCD screen? No! The backlight will continue to work from behind. The only way to make an LCD screen consume less battery is to adjust the brightness.

AndroidPIT Sony XZ1 7540

The Xperia XZ1 has an LCD screen / © NextPit

OLED, AMOLED and Super AMOLED screens

In the case of screens with AMOLED technology, we have almost the opposite of the LCD. There is no illuminated layer behind the pixels, and they themselves are illuminated. That way, you can choose which pixels will be lit, and they don’t have to be all at once.

In general terms, if your smartphone uses AMOLED technology, it is recommended to use a black screen background and dark themes for longer battery life. According to a study by XDA Developers, energy savings on an AMOLED screen with 20% brightness is 6% every hour.

If we set the brightness to the maximum, the savings go up to 8% an hour. These results are based on an always-on screen. This is due to the fact that, with the technology of AMOLED screens, LEDs do not emit light, but go out with a black background and therefore do not «work».

AndroidPIT oneplus 5t vs samsung galaxy s8 plus 6689

Examples of AMOLED screens / © NextPit

Where to get a black background?

It is recommended to change the theme of your applications and configure the Dark Theme, or Dark Theme, whenever this option is offered by the manufacturer of your smartphone.

Obviously, battery life depends on more than just your wallpaper. Therefore, the results will depend on the use you give to your device, including the processor, use of apps and more. However, we believe that the savings through this type of on-screen adjustment can be worthwhile.

What Google says

One of the factors that use the most battery in a smartphone is the brightness of the screen, which the higher, the more it consumes. However, Google informed its developers that the colors displayed on the screen are also important.

The graph below, released by Google itself, shows that with 50% of the screen brightness, YouTube in dark mode consumes 14% less battery life than when the app is in normal mode. At 100% brightness, the battery consumes 60% less battery power using dark mode.

youtube dark mode power usage

The difference through an Android app / © Google

Google itself brought the dark theme to its system from the Oreo (even if half-assed) and is updating its apps with the same feature. Android Pie offers some dark elements, but it is in Android 10 that dark mode came to life.

Was this tip valuable to you? Do you know other tips to save battery?