Using iPhone X’s dark mode uses less than half the battery power

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grayscale iphone x dark mode
The iPhone X sips power in dark mode.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Did you read our guide to switching on the iPhone X’s Unofficial Battery Saver Dark Mode in order to stretch the battery life of your new iPhone X? Well, it turns out that blacking out as much of the screen as possible really can save a whole lot of juice. In testing, running the iPhone X in dark mode saves a staggering amount of battery power.

iPhone X sips power in dark mode

Apple Insider’s Neil Hughes ran two tests on his iPhone X. In both, he loaded up Reddit, which uses a plain white background for its pages. He set the screen backlight brightness to 100%, and left it to sit for three hours. Then he ran the same test, only with Smart Invert Colors activated. This turns black to white, and is used by many folks as an eye-resting night mode.

With the screen running with regular colors, the iPhone X’s battery drained from 100% to 28% in three hours. With Smart Invert Colors activated, the battery was still at a healthy 85% after three hours.

That’s a pretty amazing difference. Even with the screen jacked up to 100%, the OLED display still only lights up the pixels it’s actually using, whereas other phone screens run a backlight the whole time, and use the colored pixels to create the image over the top, like a film projector.

Activate Smart Invert Colors

Going by Hughes’ test, the difference is clear. If you use an iPhone X, it makes sense to make the display as black as possible. If nothing else, you should switch the wallpaper to plain black, to save power on the lock screen and the home screen. Also, many apps offer a dark mode, which swaps light interface elements for darker ones.

The easiest way to make everything dark though, is to use the built-in Smart Invert Colors option, which is found in the Accessibility section of the Settings app (follow our how-to here). This switches the display from white-text-on-black to black-text-on-white, while leaving images and apps icons untouched. It’s a pretty great dark mode, which by all accounts looks amazing on the iPhone X’s none-more-black screen.

  • Jay

    I love to use my OLED display to look at black and white photos!

  • Solublepeter

    Smart colour invert isn’t that smart, images are inverted in Safari, Mail etc. too. Only the icons aren’t inverted.

  • Balcis

    so this shows battery draining effect for screen usage that with “smart invert colors” mode it’s consuming less than half.

    the missing part is what is screen energy consuming compared to the total energy consume.

    I mean another regular battery test must be done with same conditions except this “smart invert colors” mode on and off.