Bright wallpaper battery drain has been popular on discussion forums. If you simply say that bright wallpapers consume more battery than dark ones, you’d be partially right. It is so because there are some other things at play when we talk about a wallpaper sacrificing your phone’s battery. The real answer to the wallpaper battery drain is slightly more complicated.
Your smartphone’s display is one of the most power-consuming components on the device. Different phones have different displays with different refresh rates and resolutions. Whether a wallpaper will cause a battery drain or not depends on your phone’s display and its usage.
The Legend Of Wallpaper Battery Drain
Yes, a brighter wallpaper apparently takes more juice when the screen is on. But hold on, it’s not just about the wallpaper, but the display too. Smartphones have two types of displays, OLED and LCD. A liquid crystal display or LCD panel is a more traditional display that uses much more battery. Then we have the organic light-emitting diode or OLED display. OLEDs are power-efficient and produce sharper blacks.
Before we dive further in, let’s talk briefly about how displays work. The basics are pretty simple. The pixels at the back of the panel illuminate in red, green, and blue colors to make the contents of the screen visible to you. With more brightness/illumination, you lose more battery. Simply put, if your phone has a bright background, it will consume more battery because the wallpaper would require constant illumination to show.
LCD Panels And Battery Drains
Talking about the conventional LCD panels, they were there even in last year’s iPhone lineup. An LCD consumes more battery because it has multiple layers that require you to light up the whole screen. That’s the reason why you shouldn’t download an always-on display app on a phone with an LCD panel. So having a darker wallpaper won’t likely save you much battery if you’re running with an LCD.
That said, LCD displays still remain power-hungry if you’re using your phone on higher brightness settings. It’s a simple balance. Battery decrease is proportional to brightness increase, no matter which displays you’re using.
OLED And Battery Drain
People at XDA found out that at maximum brightness, default wallpapers consumed 5% battery in 15 minutes, while pure black wallpapers consumed 3%. Another Reddit user found that white wallpaper drained 10% battery in one hour, and a black wallpaper took just 3% power in an hour. These results are over 3 to 5 years old and both batteries and displays have come a long way from there. However, it is still a fact that a brighter wallpaper and higher brightness will drain your phone faster on an AMOLED screen.
If you’re using a recent Android phone, be it a Samsung, Pixel, or OnePlus device, chances are that you’re running an OLED display. There’s a class of OLED panels called AMOLED or Active Matrix OLED displays which are found on most devices. Your phone will be more power-efficient if it has an AMOLED display. The story is similar in the case of the other type called POLED (Plastic Light Emitting Diode) which has been used on Google Pixel devices.
It is so because AMOLED panels allow the device to only send power to the pixels that are to be lit up. So if your phone is on stand-by and you have an always-on display, it’s not consuming as much battery because only a part of the screen is turned on.
Dark Mode To The Rescue
It takes more power to light up the display, so it’ll save power if you used dark mode instead. If you’ve used a Samsung phone, you must’ve noticed how it switches to dark mode when you turn on power-saving mode. It is so because dark mode allows the phone to light up fewer elements on the screen, which saves more power. So if you keep your phone in dark mode permanently, it is likely to save some precious percentage points on your battery.
It is so because dark mode blackens out app backgrounds, menus, and basically the entire interface on your phone. That said, there are fewer pixels lighting up in dark mode, saving more battery. So if you’re worried about bright wallpaper battery drain, go for a good dark wallpaper and system-wide dark mode.
Now, if you want to come over to the dark side, there are some apps I recommend. You can find good black wallpapers on 4K Amoled Wallpapers – Black, Dark Wallpapers app in the Play Store. If you’re looking for something simpler, I suggest you go for the Pitch Black Wallpaper.