There were several issues with the Google Pixel 2 XL when it arrived on the market in 2017. One of those issues was screen burn in. Users noticed “ghost images” on their screens after using the phones for just a short time.
Google went on to correct many of these issues. The burn in issue left many people wondering if their phones might be at risk.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the causes of screen burn in on your phone. You’ll also learn some tips and tricks on how to prevent screen burn.
Why Screen Burn in Happens
The first question you might ask is, “What is screen burn?” It’s a problem for most phones and devices with AMOLED or OLED technology. It can happen to LCD displays as well, but it’s rarer.
Unfortunately, screen burn in is a natural part of the aging process for OLED displays. The more you use your phone, the more likely damage is to occur. Since the average person checks their phone 52 times a day, these screens age a lot faster than we’d like.
Irregular pixel usage causes screen discoloration. When an image appears on the screen for a long time, it “burns” the image into the screen. A phantom copy of the image is etched on the screen afterward.
Most manufacturers claim it takes a good deal of time for screen discoloration to happen. Some independent tests say it could happen sooner than you think.
Why Screen Burn Affects OLED
Organic Light Emitting Diode technology uses pixels that emit light. Over time, the individual pixels decay. The rate of decay varies between pixels, resulting in burn in.
Usage affects which pixels wear out first. In cases of phone screen burn in, you’ll notice navigation bars and icons etching into the screen first. Since they’re displayed so often, the pixels used to display them wear out first.
Pixels used to display blue also seem to wear out faster than pixels used for other colors. Screens use a combination of red, green, and blue to create white. Since many navigation bars and icons are white, they increase the risk of burn in by wearing out blue pixels.
Testing for Screen Burn in
How do you know if your phone screen has burn in? Most people don’t notice until ghost images start showing up on their display. At this point, color burn has already happened.
Screen burn in is something that can’t be repaired, so you want to be sure you’re on the lookout for it. If you’ve had your OLED phone for some time already, there’s a good chance the screen has some damage.
A screen burn test can help you determine the extent of the discoloration on your phone. If you have an Android phone, there are several apps that can help you test for screen burn in.
Most of these apps are simple to use. Mild screen burn is more obvious when displaying a solid color at maximum brightness. The apps will run through a series of colors.
If an image persists or coloration is blotchy on one part of the screen, discoloration is present.
Reducing the Appearance of Screen Burn in
As we said, you can’t fix screen burn in once it’s happened. There are some apps that claim to reverse damage. For the most part, they just burn the rest of the screen to even out the discoloration.
Other apps claim to function like computer screensavers. Dynamic images appear when the screen is idle, forcing pixels to exercise. Different pixels light up, ensuring the same pixels aren’t constantly illuminated.
Most users won’t even notice screen burn in until it’s severe. One reason is that most people don’t have their phones set to maximum brightness. Most don’t display the same image for long stretches of time.
If you do notice screen burn in, you can reduce the appearance by adjusting the brightness of your screen. If the damage on your screen is severe, you can invert the colors. This causes more damage, but it reduces the appearance of existing burn in.
You can also take steps to protect the screen from further damage.
How to Prevent Screen Burn in
Since there’s really no remedy for screen discoloration, the best bet is prevention.
Manufacturers like Google and Samsung are aware of the issues. They’ve been working to make modern display panels last longer.
One of Samsung’s solutions was to increase the size of the blue pixel. This reduces the amount of current needed to light up the display.
Lower current doesn’t fix the issue of screen burn in. It just slows things down. Your OLED screen will still age, which means you’ll still notice some screen burn in.
There are steps you can take to slow down the aging process even more. Most of them are easy. If you’re concerned about the health of your smartphone screen, you can:
- Lower the brightness of your screen
- Lower the screen’s timeout interval
- Use a black or dark-colored wallpaper
- Use a dark-themed keyboard
- Install dark icons
- Use an immersive display
If you don’t have an immersive display option, you can switch your launcher. The effects are like the immersive display option.
Be selective about the apps you use as well. For example, most navigational apps use a white background and other bright icons. See if you can lower the brightness or swap the color palette.
Social media apps often have the same issue. Switch Twitter to night mode, and your screen will last longer.
Give Your Phone a Longer Life
With these tips on how to prevent screen burn, you should be able to prolong the life of your OLED phone display. Keep in mind, though, that screen burn is part of the aging process for this screen technology.
If you have significant screen burn in, it might be time to replace the screen or your phone. If you’re looking for phone repair in Toronto, Oakville, or Hamilton, we can help. Get in touch today, and exorcise those ghost images on your screen.