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Android battery life too short? Try using dark mode, Google says

Android smartphone owners who want to enjoy longer battery life on their devices might want to try using dark mode, according to Google itself.

Google confirmed at the 2018 Android Dev Summit that using dark mode extends the battery life of Android smartphones. It has long been known that brighter screens lead to faster battery drain, but Google provided more information on the claim by explaining the relationship between enabling dark mode and saving battery life.

Slides that Google presented at the annual event, as reported by Slash Gear, noted that the screen’s brightness almost linearly increased a smartphone’s power usage. Google also revealed that a Pixel smartphone, which uses an AMOLED display, is able to reduce power consumption by 63% when using Google Maps’ night mode compared to its normal mode. Among the three primary colors, Google said that blue uses up the most power, at about 25 percent more compared to both red and green.

Lastly, Google also confirmed that at max brightness, black barely uses up a smartphone’s charge, especially compared to displaying white on the screen. This is because displaying white elements uses all the various components of the screen.

Google then admitted that it made a mistake over the past several years, as its Material Design initiative pushed for the use of white, and encouraged developers to choose white as the primary color for their apps. Material Design’s baseline theme looks very clean, but all the white elements are causing smartphone batteries to drain faster.

Fortunately, dark mode has started to arrive in Google apps for Android, with recent examples including Android Messages, Google News, and YouTube. The apps are receiving updated looks to bring them in line with Material Design 2, and part of the initiative is the release of dark modes.

In addition to extending an Android smartphone’s battery life, dark mode may be much easier to look at, compared to long walls of black text over a white background. Users should try activating dark mode for their favorite apps, if the feature is already available — at the very least, the device will last longer before needing a recharge.

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