It’s Official – Dark Mode Can Significantly Boost Your iPhone’s Battery Life

iOS 13 Dark Mode on iPhone Credit: Fabio Mota / Shutterstock
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If you have an iPhone with an OLED display, and getting the best battery life is high on your list of priorities, you’ll want to use Dark Mode.

When Apple first released systemwide Dark Mode, it was pretty much solely marketed as an aesthetic feature. But a new battery life test proves that it actually has a positive impact on your iPhone’s battery life.

Battery Life Test on OLED Devices

It’s long been known that darker user interfaces tend to be more efficient on OLED displays. Now, PhoneBuff has put that to the test for two iPhones running iOS 13.

The popular YouTube channel pits smartphones against each other in a test using robotic arms to simulate real-world usage of devices.

This time, PhoneBuff compared two fully charged iPhones running iOS 13 — one in Light Mode and one in Dark Mode.

PhoneBuff used a variety of first-party and third-party apps that supported Dark Mode and Light Mode on each device. The results pretty much prove that Dark Mode is better for your battery.

  • An iPhone XS Max using Dark Mode drains much slower than an iPhone XS Max using Light Mode.
  • When the Light Mode device died, the iPhone running in Dark Mode still had 30 percent battery life left.

Brighter Display = More Battery Savings

Interestingly, the battery savings appear to be much more significant when the displays are set to higher brightness levels.

Both of the iPhones in the test, for example, had their displays set to 200 nits. At 100 nits, using Twitter in Dark Mode for five hours only saved 5 percent battery. At 300 nits, the same test saved 12 percent battery life.

This is the case because of the way OLED panels display black pixels. Each pixel on an OLED display is individually powered — but true black pixels are powered off.

What About LCD Phones?

It’s worth noting that this battery life saving trick only applies to OLED-based smartphones. Devices like the iPhone 11, iPhone XR or iPhone 8 won’t see any gains when using Dark Mode.

But it’s still a worthy tip for OLED smartphone users, particularly as more and more apps introduce Dark Mode support.

And real-world tests like this only cement the fact that Dark Mode is going to be better on OLED devices. And that may be important, since Apple hasn’t really positioned Dark Mode as a battery life-saver on its OLED devices.

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