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iPhone 14 Pro: Is the Always-On display actually too on?

The iPhone 14 Pro reviews are out, which means several journalists and influencers were able to give their thoughts on their experience with the latest iPhone models. While the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max were praised for their new Dynamic Island, photography capabilities, premium finish, and more, there was one thing that concerned me a bit: the new Always-On display. It looks a bit too on, and I’m not the only one that thought of that.

Actually, The Verge‘s Nilay Patel was the first to say that the iPhone 14 Pro’s Always-on display “is a little too… on.” If you compare what Samsung, Google, and other Android manufacturers do, they choose to dim everything and only highlight the clock and some notifications in black and white.

While it was first rumored that Apple would add the Always-On display technology to the iPhone 13 Pro, the company waited to add a panel with a 1Hz refresh rate to introduce this feature. Different from Android makers, Apple took the Apple Watch approach, which is: what’s on the screen, stays on the screen. Since the panel is only refreshing once per minute when it’s turned off, Apple says it can save battery while displaying important information.

Source: Marques Brownlee iPhone 14 Pro review video

YouTuber Marques Brownlee noted that his review unit battery was going away faster with this technology turned on, which makes sense since no light is better than some light. While Apple showed a few interesting backgrounds with Always-On display usage, reviewers showed us a different perspective.

Imagine if you’re listening to The Beatles’ White Album. The AOD will keep displaying a dimmed white album, which, as Patel said, is “too on.” If you have a family picture on the beach sand or any other white background, you’ll see that the Always-On display will actually lessen rather than improve the experience.

What’s interesting to note is that the iPhone 14 Pro Always-On display is too bright because Apple adds the brighter panel ever put on a smartphone in this generation. In regular conditions, it has a peak brightness of 600 nits. But out in the sun or with HDR content, it can go up to 2,000 nits – it’s insane.

With such a brighter display and Apple’s Apple Watch choice, it makes sense why the Always-On display technology seems too on.

Here’s a workaround and a wish for the iPhone 14 Pro Always-On display feature

Latest Xcode 14 beta corroborates always-on display coming to iPhone 14 Pro

If you’re like me and already think this technology is better turned off, don’t worry. In the iPhone’s settings, you can disable Always-On. It’s a very simple toggle.

For the future, rather than just needing to switch my background, I wish Apple would only highlight the clock and my widgets, instead of notifications and the background. It would for sure save battery and would diminish my privacy concerns.

It’s also interesting to note that Apple has a few tweaks for the AOD tech. If you’re wearing an Apple Watch and go far from your iPhone, the display is automatically turned off. In addition, you can also switch how notifications are displayed to show just how many notifications you have, and not from who they are.


With this first look on the iPhone 14 Pro, I do think the Always-On display looks too on. I hope Apple can tweak that with the next software updates.

What do you think? Do you like the new AOD tech, or do you prefer Samsung’s approach? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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