Dark Mode has been becoming increasingly popular in 2019. All over the internet websites are adding dark modes for their customers and many popular mobile app developers are racing each other to bring out their version of dark mode for their app.
The popularity of dark mode this year has meant that it’s now widely available in many popular apps and websites including Facebook Messenger, IMDB, Kindle, YouTube, Wall Street Journal, Discord, Twitter, Gmail and Instagram. Dark mode is also available on operating systems including Windows 10, IOS and Android.
Many might be wondering why is it that all of a sudden so many technology companies are interested in dark mode? You might often hear people say it’s about colour preference and extra choice with many preferring to use the dark colour scheme on their device instead of the traditional light colour scheme. Others might be saying it’s easier on the eyes at night because of less blue light being used to make the dark colours as another reason to use it. But what dark mode is really about, is battery life.
It has been found in recent tests that dark mode is in fact better for battery life on many smartphones and laptops and by switching to dark mode a person using an iPhone XS Max could save up to 30% of battery life. You can see this test in action in the video below.
But switching to dark mode is only actually worth it to everyday users if they happen to own a phone with an OLED screen and not one that has a standard LCD screen (the most common). The same is the case for laptops, an OLED screen is needed to see the full benefits of dark mode battery saving.
The reason for needing an OLED screen when using dark mode to save battery life is due to how the OLED screen types display colours and the power they use to do so. When an OLED screen displays dark colours, it actually switches off the pixels while an LCD will not and this is where the battery saving comes from. LCD screens will not actually see any battery saving at all when switching to dark mode.
In a test by Google at the Android Developers Summit in 2018. It was found that when using their YouTube app a person with a first generation OLED display Pixel phone would be about 60% better off when it came to saving power on their device if they chose to go dark instead of light with the phone using 96 mA in dark mode compared to 239 mA in normal mode.
In 2019 it seems like more and more devices are shipping with OLED screens rather than LCD’s and it’s possible to save battery by going dark, this means that a person could use the apps longer in dark mode than in light mode on their phone. App developers and phone makers want people to be using their apps as much as possible, so it makes sense for them to all make dark modes available as it will keep their customers coming back and staying there for longer. Apps that use less battery simply get used more than apps that don’t and this is quite likely the cause for the new dark mode craze from so many tech companies this year.
OLED devices are mostly still high end devices and are still fairly new. They also tend to be more expensive than LCD devices, this applies to both phones and laptops. Some recent OLED phone models include the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 / Note 10 +, Huawei P30 / P30 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10, Apple iPhone XS, Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Google Pixel 4 / 4 XL. OLED laptops are far rarer than phone OLED screens and quite expensive still. OLED laptops include the Dell XPS 15, Alienware m15 and the Razer Blade. If you happen to have one of these already in your home then you might want to consider switching to dark mode on them to save yourself quite a bit of battery.
So should you switch to dark mode then?
There’s only really a few reasons to switch to dark mode. The first is if you just happen to like how it looks and like to have your phone or other device looking that way. The second reason is for battery saving, but this is only beneficial to those who have OLED screens and is not worth it if your device is still using an LCD. But at least if you do have an OLED screen device, you can go dark and use it to browse the web a little longer than you would be able to if you kept using light mode.