Google details just how good dark mode is for your battery

  • During its Android Dev Summit, Google confirmed that dark mode puts significantly less strain on the battery than any other color, particularly white.
  • Google also acknowledged that its Material Design initiative uses white as a primary color.

Dark mode is visually appealing to many folks, but it also helps prolong battery life if your device features an OLED display. Google re-iterated that point during its Android Dev Summit and confirmed that dark mode puts significantly less strain on the battery than anything else, reported SlashGear.

The slideshow (at one hour, 17 minutes, 50 seconds) contained a few “duh” points, such as higher brightness resulting in a higher power draw. Where things picked up a bit was with the next slide, which compared the Google Pixel and iPhone 7’s power draw while on maximum brightness in Normal Mode and Night Mode. Keep in mind that the original Pixel features an OLED display, while the iPhone 7 features an LCD panel.

Results between the two phones were comparable in Normal Mode, though results showed a much greater disparity with Night Mode. The Pixel’s current draw was 92mA, while the iPhone 7’s was 230mA. This makes sense, since OLED displays feature individual pixels that barely do any work on dark areas of the screen. LCD panels, by comparison, have all of their pixels lit up regardless of what is shown on the screen.

Things got even more interesting with one of the next charts, which showed major differences with current draw between black and white while the display was on maximum brightness. While white uses up the most power, black used up the least amount.

Funnily enough, this led Google to acknowledge that it shot itself in the foot by using white as a primary color with Material Design. Particularly with its revamped Material Design initiative, Google stripped away most colors within its apps and chose white for backgrounds and interfaces.

The good news is that Google is well aware of this and threw in dark modes for apps like YouTube, Messages, Google News, and Phone. We can assume that dark mode will eventually make it to more of Google’s apps, though I am sure that many people will also appreciate a system-wide dark theme.

Some Android OEMs are ahead of the curve when it comes to supporting dark mode. Samsung just announced that its new One UI will feature system-wide dark mode support, while Huawei’s EMUI already has a great dark mode on phones like the Mate 20 Pro.

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Google details just how good dark mode is for your battery

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