Dark themes are becoming increasingly popular. On some devices, they can also save battery power. Everything depends on the type of display your device has only devices with OLED displays can reap the energy-saving benefits.
Devices with only OLED screens
You've probably heard about OLED displays, especially if you've been on the market for a new TV over the past year or so. OLED screens differ from LCD screens and LED displays usually found in the electronics of the OLEDs do not have a background coating layer: each pixel is individually illuminated. This makes the screen thinner, but the main point is that black pixels do not shine at all.
The result is higher contrast in your favorite movies, inky blacks in all interfaces and battery savings when using a dark theme on your laptop or mobile phone.
When a dark theme can save battery power on your laptop
OLED laptops are starting to show up, with some newer models just announced at CES 2019. There have been no MacOS or ChromeOS laptops with OLED screens, but there are some Windows options. HP's Specter x360 15 comes with a 15-inch Samsung AMOLED display, while Lenovo offers its Yoga C730 with an OLED panel. Surface fans will be good luck – Microsoft hasn't sent an OLED screen on their laptops yet.
Switching to Windows dark theme is easy, which will darken all built-in programs simultaneously. With Microsoft Office, you can switch to a dark theme, as well as many other third-party applications. Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome offer all the dark themes, but your favorite sites may or may not. Google's official dark theme is not stable on Windows, but will come up in the next few months.
You won't get the battery saving benefits if your laptop doesn't use an OLED screen and you can find the dark theme can damage your battery in theory, at least. A dark theme can lead you to turn your portability brightness to read text and see buttons in the interface and the higher brightness would draw more power from the battery. It depends on how much light is in your environment, how well your vision works and how effective the backlight is – so you may not notice any difference. Just keep that in mind when switching to the dark side.
Of course, if you want to save battery power, there are many ways to increase the life of your laptop battery. You can also use Windows 10's battery saving mode. We've covered many tips to save battery power on your MacBook as well. And the same basic principles also apply to extending your Chromebook's life.
When a dark theme can save battery power on your mobile phone
The OLED screens are much more common in smartphones because they are easier to produce in smaller sizes. Samsung's Galaxy flagship has always used OLED screens, while iPhones reserve them for the iPhone X, XS and XS Max not iPhone XR or any older iPhones. Google has been using OLED screens for its Pixel phones since 2016, while support from other manufacturers is hit and miss.
Samsung offers a dark theme for their phone, while Pixel's phones will get a darker position later this year with Android Q. Apple's iOS 13 is also moved to include a dark theme, but we won't know it until WWDC in end of May or early June.
Battery savings from using a dark theme with OLED screens are drastic: Google saw battery life savings between 15% and 60% as it moved from YouTube's standard white background to the dark mode. I spend a large part of my day on Facebook Messenger to chat with friends and book musical performances, and Facebook has just rolled out a dark theme to Messenger. I have noticed an extra percent or two on my phone at the end of the day, but the small amount can go a long way if I'm ever away from a charger. Doubletwist (my music player of your choice) also offers a black theme, so most of my phone usage is spent in the dark and I get the most out of my phone's battery.
Don't worry if your phone does not have an OLED screen.
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You do not have to worry about the battery life on your TV and most of the time it will still show television programs, movies or video games. However, if you have an OLED TV, it will use less power when displaying blacks than bright colors.
In theory, you might save a few pennies on your electricity bill if it spends a lot of time and shows menus. LG does some of the best OLED TVs, and these TVs also offer a dark theme in their user interfaces.