Google confirms dark mode is better for battery life

By | 9th November 2018

Battery life is the age-old plague of smartphones, and one that manufacturers have tried to tackle in a myriad of different ways. But the most power-hungry component of all is the display. While the largely linear relationship between screen brightness and battery life is well known, there’s also a significant impact caused by what’s on your screen.

Google studied these relationships in battery life and displayed its findings during this week’s Android Dev Summit. For example, when Pixel devices utilized Night Mode (which switches to a dark theme) in max brightness, they used 62% less battery than when they were in regular mode with max brightness. Other studies into color showed the same findings, that black uses the least power and white uses the most, with a major disparity between the two.

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The findings make sense, particularly if you know a bit about AMOLED displays. AMOLED displays provide power to each individual pixel, with black requiring the least power. This allows “dark” and “night” modes to save tremendous amounts of battery life.

Of course, Google is now owning up to its mistake in crafting design guidelines. Since the introduction of Material Design, Google has pushed for white as the primary color. But with these findings, Google will likely tweak its guidelines and continue rolling out “dark mode” settings for its apps.

Do you prefer dark mode to light mode?