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         30 July 2022          Danny R.

Dark mode can save power

Since it was made popular a few years ago, it's been debated whether "dark mode" extends battery life on mobile phones.

The results of tests were often murky because so many components contribute to power drain in a phone.

Recently though, a team of researchers were able to build a tool that could isolate the power draw on an OLED screen, and accurately measure how much power was being drawn, even when just using one particular app.

The short version of what they found is that if you typically have your screen at or near 100% brightness all the time, switching to dark mode can save close to 50% battery life. If you're more around 50% brightness though, dark mode won't make much difference.

For a laptop or desktop screen, where brightness settings are less likely to be adjusted often, websites that run dark "themes" also reduce power demand.

I've written about low impact websites before, which intentionally use methods to reduce the power required to display that site (we're experimenting with this on the Impact Labs website at the moment).

It's interesting to imagine how much power might be saved if all of the world's websites suddenly switched to dark mode - personally I like the look of low impact sites, but I wonder how long it's be before we all started to miss the white space..!

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