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What is an always-on display? Screen Specialist Explained

One big update for iPhone 14 series this year is the always-on display, which can be found on Pro and ProMax models. But what does “always on” actually mean?

Read on to learn more about this feature, including what it is, how it works, and how it will affect your phone’s battery life and the overall health of your screen.

What is an always-on display?

Always On Display (AOD) is a feature that allows the screen to share a small amount of information when the device itself is in a sleep or inactive state. This often includes the date, time, battery status, and any notifications you may receive while your device is locked. Often you can also select widgets to see them at a glance.

The technology works by taking advantage of AMOLED technology’s ability to completely turn off certain pixels, allowing the screen to display the pixels you want without significantly impacting battery life.

Always-on displays are commonly found on smartwatches and smartphones: Samsung was one of the first to popularize them in the mobile world, and Apple was the latest to join the trend with its iPhone lineup.

However, this technology dates back to Nokia phones in the early 2010s and has since been introduced by Android manufacturers such as Huawei, Motorola and Google into their devices in recent years.

In terms of wearables, you can find always-on displays on a wide range of smartwatches like the Apple Watch 7 and Galaxy Watch 4, as well as fitness trackers like the Fitbit Versa 3.

Do always-on displays drain your battery?

Always-on displays tend to use more battery due to these pixels being on, but AMOLED technology means you won’t notice much of a difference with always-on mode activated.

Although, of course, the exact percentage will depend on your particular phone or watch.

Is it bad for your screen?

Always-on displays certainly shouldn’t damage your screen, but again this will depend on your device.

Samsung says the following about its support page regarding always-on displays on native Galaxy phones:

“The AOD feature does not cause screen burn. This is automatically prevented on phones because the AOD image moves slightly on the screen over time.”

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