Future Android version may support turning off the display while screen casting to save battery

By | 22nd March 2018

The ability to cast a phone’s screen to other devices like the Google Chromecast is an often understated feature. It can allow for a number of different types of content to be projected onto your TV screen. You can stream games, show off photos in your gallery, and a whole lot more. It’s even possible at times to stream normally uncastable content, such as content you may need a VPN to view.

If you use the built-in cast functionality when looking at BBC iPlayer through a VPN, for example, your Chromecast will give an error as it isn’t using the VPN itself. A way around this is to instead cast your device’s own screen. It works, but it’s fairly cumbersome as you need to leave your phone’s screen switched on. It drains the battery and previously the only workaround was through the use of the root-enabled application called SecondScreen. In a series of unmerged commits, it appears this limitation may no longer be present in a future version of Android when casting.

The commits made by a Sony engineer are a work in progress and may not be merged in the future. There’s no real reason to think why it might not be yet, but an incompatibility or other reason could crop up and render the commit unusable. Still, this is great news for anyone who doesn’t want to root their phones to reap the benefits of being able to cast with their screen switched off.

Not only should there be battery benefits, but there are likely heat benefits too as the screen won’t need to be powered. It’s unknown how the logistics of such an addition will work, however, and if the content will continue to play while the display is off and casted. It’s likely that the screen will be switched off but the system is being kept in an awake state as if the screen is on, but we can’t say at this time.