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Android’s Dark Mode battery-saving feature effect is negligible — study

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If you’re using Android 10’s Dark Mode feature to save on battery life, you’re saving only a wee bit of power according to a Purdue University research study.

By analyzing the power consumption of the most downloaded apps found on Google Play, the researchers concluded in their study that the dark mode feature only saves a lot of power if the users previously had their brightness setting at 100 percent.

The study notes that most users, however, set their screen brightness at 30 to 50 percent, in which case the switch from light to dark mode only generates three to nine percent power savings on average.

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(Purdue University photo/John Underwood)

Still, those small percentages add up over time, and users who want to make the most of their device’s battery life should use Dark Mode. The study laid out two scenarios where the feature is particularly useful: when you’re outside on a sunny day and would usually set the screen brightness to maximum to beat the sun’s glare, and when you want to go easy on your eyes.

The study also notes how dark mode is more beneficial on phones released after 2017, as they’re likely to have an OLED screen that consumes less power when displaying darker-colored pixels. The energy savings when using dark mode may also become more significant as apps are redesigned to adapt the feature.

The researchers are planning to license the tool they built for the study to developers and platform vendors, so they can optimize their apps for dark mode with power savings in mind.

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