It’s already mainstream knowledge that the biggest culprit when it comes to battery consumption on your mobile phone is the display. This is one reason why battery saving tips always suggest dialling down the screen brightness or using adaptive brightness.
Recently, at the just concluded Android Dev Summit 2018, Google shared on how using a dark theme on your phone can save you a whole lot of battery life. The search giant demonstrated this by using the YouTube mobile app in dark mode and light mode, highlighting the differences in display power consumption.
During the demo, Google showed that you could experience up to 60% less battery consumption by using dark mode. However, these numbers only count if your mobile phone uses an AMOLED or OLED-based screen instead of an LCD.
Why only OLED screens?
Well, when using a dark theme for an OLED based display, the parts of the screen that is black literally have their pixels turned off so the display only lights up areas that have colours other than black. Using your phone in maximum brightness, black takes only about a third of the power consumed by the maximum brightness in white. That’s because individual pixels don’t have to work as hard on dark areas of the phone screen.
Dark mode comes bundled in Android Pie, and Google is also migrating its proprietary apps to use dark mode. Some mobile phone manufacturers also add dark mode as a system theme. You’d have to check your display settings or do a quick Google search to check if your smartphone has a dark mode setting.
If you want to enjoy the battery saving magic on AMOLED screens, you’d have to go for dark wallpapers, dark system theme, and also toggle dark mode for apps that have the option.