We now have proof that apps consume less battery power when using darker colors such as black and gray.
At a recent Android Dev Summit session (via SlashGear), Google has shown what we've long suspected: The colors used in apps directly affect the battery life of the smartphone, and whiter or lighter colors have a stronger impact.
With an original pixel phone Google tested various ways in which the phone affects the battery life. The brightness was of course one of the most obvious factors. Everyone knows that the brighter the screen is set, the faster the battery is used up.
However, the most informative news from the session concerns the use of color. As many of us techies know, already familiar with the technicalities of a telephone display, turning on the night mode (if any) on the phone helps to extend battery life.
However, this is not so noticeable on phones with LCD screens, where the entire display is backlit, but the energy savings for cell phones with OLED displays (eg Samsung phones, pixels, iPhone X, XS, XS Max, etc.) considerably higher.
This is because OLED screens are not illuminated like LCDs and all pixels are illuminated by a uniform brightness. Instead, every pixel in an OLED display has an on and off status. Therefore, the pixel only turns on and consumes power if it is not a color other than black. A black pixel is "off", which is why blacks are so deep compared to LCDs on OLEDs because they are not lit.
So it should come as no surprise that apps that switch to night / dark mode, often using more black or dark gray, reduce the rate at which the phone's battery discharges.
I recommend switching to night mode (if available), not just because your phone lasts longer, but because it's more pleasing to the eyes. Twitter with a dark theme is less dazzling than a mostly white tag theme, especially if you look at it in the dark or in places that are not bright (like bars, restaurants, etc.).
However, Google has not helped maintain battery life on Android through the material design review of all its apps. In an attempt to create a consistent and modern flat user interface for all apps and services, the developers of Android apps went overboard with the white "negative space". As a result, their apps consume more power than they need.
Take away is easy for Google and Android app developers: use more black and darker colors. It's good to save energy and Dark mode looks much better in my opinion.
But not only Android phones can benefit from black apps. iOS developers should do this as well. With the iPhone X, XS and XS Max, which use all OLED screens, it is possible to create good-looking apps that are also suitable for battery life.
As someone who uses dark mode in apps like Twitter and Apollo whenever possible, and uses a black wallpaper on my homescreen, I'm always looking for apps that love aesthetics. Now there is proof that the battery is actually being extended. There are even more reasons to choose Dark mode as an option.
If Apple takes its steps with the Dark Mode in the standard iOS apps, this will encourage other app developers to follow suit. Apple has already taken small steps with the Dark Mode on MacOS Mojave and it's gorgeous.
It's time for the company to do the same with iOS. I've always found it strange that some iOS apps are dark (eg clock, clock, compass, activity, calculator), but others are not. Maybe Apple can finally run all apps in Dark mode in iOS 13. If there's something iOS 13 should have, that's it.
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