Neil Hughes has been running battery tests on the iPhone X and his findings blew my mind a little bit:
Reddit normally features a white background and black text, but with Apple’s smart invert colors option enabled, the back of the screen is now black and the text is white. This is important because black pixels in an OLED are essentially “turned off” and consume far less power — a stark contrast from LCD displays, where the backlight must illuminate all pixels, including black ones.
After three hours with maximum brightness and smart invert colors enabled, the iPhone X battery dropped from 100 percent to just 85 percent.
We then ran the exact same test with an iPhone X running in normal mode — that is to say, Reddit was loaded on Safari with a white background and black test. With the backlight turned up to maximum, the battery drained from 100 percent down to 28 percent.
iOS really needs a dark mode, using true black as the background. Running with “Smart Invert” enabled in Accessibility settings may save a lot of power, but it is looks super janky in a lot of corners of the operating system. I’d love to see Apple ship a true dark mode, and I’d be even happier if we didn’t have to wait until iOS 12 next year to see it.
I’ve moved to Tweetbot and Overcast’s dark modes, but the dark gray used means the display is still taking up more power than it would with a true OLED-friendly mode.