Google is trying to prevent Pixel 2 display burn-in with a light navigation bar

image source: 9to5Google

Screen burn-in is one of the unfortunate realities of OLED. Manufacturers are well-aware of this shortcoming, and yet, at this point at least, there is not much that can be done to completely prevent it hardware-wise. However, there's always the option of mitigating the issue through software, and that's exactly what Google is trying to do for its Pixel lineup of smartphones.

One of the biggest culprits for screen burn-in on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, as well as last year's models, is the persistent navigation bar that Google uses – a black stripe with bright, white buttons. Since the navbar is almost always on-screen, after extended use, it leaves its mark on the OLED panel. To combat this, Google is introducing a burn-in protection feature in Android 8.1 Developer Preview that will dim the navbar after a short period of inactivity. Google is also encouraging developers to adopt a light navigation bar for their apps—light gray with dark gray buttons—to even further diminish the possibility of problematic burn-in.

The company is setting an example with the latest beta version of the Google app, which features a light navbar on Pixel and Pixel 2 models running Android 8.1 DP.


Another change that Android 8.1 will bring to the table to combat screen burn-in is a lower max brightness for the Pixel 2 XL. The maximum brightness of the handset will be lowered with 50 nits.

Related phones

Pixel 2
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2700 mAh
Pixel 2 XL
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3520 mAh

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32 Comments

1. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Burn in becoming a big issue suddenly, interesting!

3. Camilla81

Posts: 90; Member since: Mar 18, 2017

It is a big issue when the burn in happens after a week of use.

9. iczer

Posts: 160; Member since: Oct 14, 2015

Did it happen to you? Im using my Pixel 2 XL since day one and I have not had any burn-in problems.

11. peace247 unregistered

At least google is trying to prevent it...apple is like "deal with it su*ckers"

15. MrAnonymous

Posts: 95; Member since: May 25, 2014

Apple "you're holding it wrong"

17. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Huh, I don't remember any burn ins in X. But I remember that Apple had several replacement programs in case you had problems with battery or chargers or anything like that

18. Camilla81

Posts: 90; Member since: Mar 18, 2017

You can't prevent it on oled screen, eventually burn in will happened but at least not after a week like the pixel.

19. mikehunta727 unregistered

Apple is trying to prevent it even more than Google. IOS doesn't have any on screen keys at all besides a tiny gesture bar at the bottom that changes color often depending on app Google is still using on screen keys here, also Apple is using a much better OLED panel than Google is so I think it's Apple who is fightin to mitigate burn in more than Google

32. kartik.07

Posts: 73; Member since: May 04, 2015

There was no need for you to mention apple here but as you have you should know apple already have features trying to prevent burn in and they are using Samsung screen not lg which are apparently is less prone to burn in. so just don’t try to put apple everywhere and you should try to appreciate both os for there things. You are a consumer not a marketing manager for any company.

16. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

It's a placebo for those who think it's a big issue.

2. path45th

Posts: 407; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

I thought Android is all about having options. But now black bars with white symbols shouldn’t be used.

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7574; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The worst thing for bur in is having a screen set to maximum brightness, and then nothing moves or taxes on the screen. So the new Pixels are doing a number of things. The fade the search bar and navigation buttons after a period of time. You can use light or dark navigation buttons now. Plus the maximum brightness will be 50 note less. All those things will help to ward off screen burn in.

4. Peacetoall unregistered

Navigation bar on amoled display will eventually lead to burn in. Manufacturers should implement auto hide feature to prevent burn in

5. nique0201

Posts: 63; Member since: Nov 28, 2011

Why don't manufacturer do what LG did on the V series except at the bottom. Have a tiny LCD strip for only the Nav bar because LCD doesn't suffer from turn in then have the old pannel seamlessly start right above for the full panel. On the V series you couldn't even see where one panel began and the other ended. That would end all the burn-in from nav bars in a instant. I should copy-right the idea.

6. Peacetoall unregistered

That would be awesome Good Tip my friend

21. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

But that would be dedicating an entire screen area to just nav buttons, might as well go back to physical buttons in that case...

7. MrNobody123

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

Not only oled displays have screen burn in issues. Even IPS LCD displays. My LG V10 also suffered from it before it had a fatal boot loop. I'm hoping LG already fixed the problem on V30 coz that's my next choice to buy.

8. Tkvdogg

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

i have first Samsung fascinate with Amoled no burn in till this day?....lg?

22. july1999

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 30, 2016

Me too. My Galaxy S and S5 don't exhibit burn-ins! We must be lucky hehe

10. greyhulk

Posts: 184; Member since: Jun 30, 2010

All of these changes were integrated into the latest security patch. This is not coming in 8.1. It’s already here. Where do you guys get your info? Does anyone even fact check?

13. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I don't have issues with my screen as I went with the Pixel 2, not the XL variant, but I have had a constantly horrible user experience with it, it frequently freezes and crashes. I'm sure I simply have a defective unit based off the fact that I haven't found any reports online of people experiencing the same issues, but Google support is having me take all these ridiculous steps before they're willing to send me a new unit. Right now they're asking me for a Bug Report which is done from the Developer menu and I have been thus far unsuccessful in getting it to work when the issue comes up. I sent them another email when my phone crashed around 1:00 AM this morning, my wife woke me up because the bright light from the Google logo boot screen woke her up. I am so done with the phone and really need a replacement already.

14. torr310

Posts: 1698; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Pixel 2 has the S-LCD not the OLED. I don't think so! Please correct your title

20. mikehunta727 unregistered

Both have OLED screens no LCD

24. torr310

Posts: 1698; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

yeah, you are correct! My bad!

27. mikehunta727 unregistered

No worries mate

23. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

How does a black bar cause "brun-in" on an OLED screen? I would think the new light navigation bar would make the OLED more susceptible to burn-in as that's actually requiring the navigation bar pixels to turn on whereas the black isn't. Instead of white buttons in the black bar though, I'd think gray ones would have been better...

28. mikehunta727 unregistered

Black bar cause burn in because those pixels are completely off and not aging at all. So everything else around the black is aging cause they are on and hence the burn in effect

25. pixel8or

Posts: 84; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

Sad that having to have the thought of burn in in the back of one's mind is an issue with current technology. IMO having to always mitigate something like burn-in does not outweigh the benefits of OLED, which is why one reason why I prefer LCD. I never have to think about it.

26. LiLLicky

Posts: 88; Member since: Oct 27, 2017

Apple: "This isn't the burn in ur looking for. Move along to our store and buy your x power adaptor."

30. baldilocks

Posts: 1545; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

I've always hated the black navbar. I always use an app to colorize it. Hate to say it, but Samsung and LG have the right idea with the colored navbar options.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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