The hype around Dark mode has been quite high, with most users touting it to be the best feature on smartphones, especially on devices that feature OLED screens, since the feature could supposedly allow for better power savings in contrast to the regular light mode.
This is due to the fact that OLED Displays are capable of turning off their individual pixels to display black backgrounds or colours, leading to overall power savings.
But, it seems that the difference might not be as high as most make it to be, as a new study via Purdue University has showcased the impact of dark mode on the battery life and, spoiler alert, it might not make as big of a difference on the overall battery life as one would hope for it to do.
Does Dark Mode Provide Major Gains In Battery Life?
Before we begin the exact details of the research, it is worth noting the applications that were in use during the test, which were Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Phone, Youtube, Calculator. All of these were tested via a Pre-Fram OLED Power Profiler or PFOP tool.
The devices that were used in the test were the Google Pixel 2, Pixel 4, Pixel 5 and the Motorola Z3, all of which were tested on the basis of the effects of dark mode per minute on the applications in use.
The results were quite interesting, as the team found out at the start that most consumers seemed to make use of auto-brightness settings that allow for a 30-40% brightness level in indoor situations.
The researchers noted that switching from light mode at 30-50% of brightness levels to dark mode allows for around 3-9% of the power difference, depending on the devices on offer.
What truly surprised them however was the significant difference in power saving conditions when dark mode was applied in brighter conditions, with the exact numbers being a 39-47% increase in battery saving at 100% brightness with dark mode on. This is truly an amazing number and one that highlights why dark mode can actually play a role in the overall battery savings.
Furthermore, the study seemed to state that Android's battery consumption functionality did not consider dark mode when calculating an app’s power team sausage so the team developed a tool, called Android Battery+, which can take dark mode into account.
Purdue’s researchers added that they planned to open-source the PFOP tool and add the Android Battery+ feature in the Android Open Source Project.