Test shows Dark Mode on iPhone extends battery life by 30%

What you need to know

  • PhoneBuff has released a new video testing Dark Mode's impact on battery life.
  • The test pits two iPhone XS models with OLED displays head to head.
  • Dark Mode increased battery life by 30% according to the controlled test.

Dark Mode was one of the most requested and anticipated features of iOS and, with the launch of iOS 13, we finally saw it come to the iPhone and the iPad. It brought the feature to all of Apple's own apps and it covered everything at the system level. Since the launch of iOS 13, developers have been rolling out Dark Mode on their own apps as well, thanks to their hard work and Apple's launch of SwiftUI which automatically gives apps built with the language the feature.

One of the things that Dark Mode could potentially benefit is battery life. If you don't have to push white or colored pixels and can leave them inactive, you use less battery. It makes sense in theory, but we haven't seen much in the realm of testing on the subject - until now. PhoneBuff has released a new video in which it puts two iPhone XS models head to head: one with Dark Mode enabled, and one without.

PhoneDog Dark Mode Battery Test

They ran the tests using robotic arms that could tap through a number of scenarios in exact synchronization with the other robot in order to calculate the battery difference as accurately as possible. The test put each phone through a number of common use cases: talking with people on iMessage, watching YouTube videos, and getting directions with Google Maps.

The results of the test were promising. The iPhone XS that did not have Dark Mode enabled ran out of battery, while the one that did still had 30% battery life remaining. Of course, this was a controlled test using a specific set of apps and the iPhone used featured Apple's OLED display, something that can only be found on the iPhone X, XS, and 11 Pro. The overall benefit has yet to be tested on the iPhone 11 which features an LCD display. Regardless, it does show that enabling Dark Mode is a perfectly legitimate way to help extend the battery life for your iPhone.

Joe Wituschek
Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.

3 Comments
  • I always wanted to see a test of battery life in dark mode, I knew it would bring a big battery life increase (to OLED iPhones, of course). If you're not sure about dark mode and you use an OLED iPhone, I think it's worth doing just for this
  • I'll never understand all the hype surrounding "dark mode". If all we had was "dark mode" for the last 30 years and now "light mode" was available, you all would by hyping "light mode" as the greatest thing ever. It's just new and different, therefore it currently seems great. Once the novelty wears off, people will be yearning for "purple mode" and "yellow mode" and any other "modes" they can think of.
  • Uh… did you read this article or just the title? This is an incredibly good reason to use Dark Mode. It requires an OLED screen though, which, by the way, hasn't been around for 30 years, plus Dark Mode looks a lot better on an OLED display, any other color wouldn't have the same benefit