Dark Mode is touted by smartphone manufacturers with OLED displays as a feature that can dramatically improve the device’s energy efficiency and battery life. However, a recent study by researchers at Purdue University showed that switching to dark mode does not significantly increase the device’s autonomy during standard use.
Using a special tool Per-Frame OLED Profiler (PFOP), the researchers analyzed the operation of several applications, including Google Maps, YouTube, Calendar, and others. Then the researchers established how dark mode affects the minute of active use of each of the applications on Google Pixel 2 smartphones. , Pixel 4, Pixel 5, and Moto Z3.
Researchers have found that many consumers use an auto-dimming mode that maintains brightness between 30% and 40% for indoor use. A series of tests have shown that switching to dark mode saves only 3 to 9% energy when using 30-50% brightness. When switching from a bright mode with high brightness to a dark mode, the energy savings will be more significant. For example, switching from light mode with 100% brightness to dark mode can save 39 to 47% energy, which is quite noticeable.
The results of the study seem quite logical, since it has been known for a long time that the high brightness mode will drain the battery faster. Accordingly, in cases where the user is not using the maximum brightness, switching to dark mode will not give a significant increase in autonomy. It should also be borne in mind that different devices have screens with different brightness, so the amount of energy saved when switching to dark mode may differ.