How to prevent screen burn-in on the Pixel 2, LG V30, Note 8, and other Android phones with OLED displays (No root)


As more and more smartphone makers incorporate OLED displays into their products, one of the unfortunate realities of the tech is rearing its ugly head. We're talking about screen burn-in. It's nothing new, really, and has been around for decades, plaguing old CRTs, LCDs, and now the beautiful, pixel-dense display of your new smartphone. The problem with OLED panels is that they get dimmer as they age, and having certain pixels lit for longer than others causes uneven wear on the display. Leaving static imagery on an OLED display for too long can cause irreversible damage in the form of burn-in, and that's exactly what's happening with Pixel 2 phones right now. The problem is mainly caused by the navigation bar, which is black with white buttons, and since it is mostly static and almost always present on-screen, it is leaving a lasting mark at the bottom part of the displays on many units.

Google knows this and is trying to prevent further damage by introducing a white navbar in some apps, since the contrast between white background and gray buttons is not as detrimental to the display, but waiting for every developer, and even Google, to adopt this in every app is not the best idea right now if you want to preserve the screen of your new Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL.

So what can you do to prevent burn-in and prolong the life of the display of your new phone? Well, enter a simple app called Navbar Apps.

Navbar Apps has one simple goal, and that's to allow users to apply custom backgrounds to the navigation bar of their phone. Most of its user base seems to be centered around the app's more garish abilities, such as the option to display a graphic equalizer in the navbar while music is playing, and, of course, to slap a bunch of crying laughing emojis behind the buttons. But the real beauty of Navbar Apps is that it is capable of so much more by doing a lot less. What I mean by this is that this app can potentially help save your OLED smartphone from display burn-in in a simple, easy-to-do way, no root required! OK, so how do you do this?

The simple way (turning the navbar white)


Alright, so first thing you want to do is obviously download Navbar Apps from the Play Store. After you've installed the app, boot it up and you'll see a prompt at the bottom of the screen to enable the detection of running apps. You want to do this, because this will allow the app to properly display a transparent navigation bar, for example, on your home screen. If you don't grant this permission, you'll have a solid colored navbar at all times, which doesn't look good in situations where Android calls for a transparent one. So, after you've granted the needed permission, it is now time to customize your navbar by enabling the "Change color of the Navigation Bar" toggle at the top and then tapping the "Static Color" icon.


After enabling "Static Color," a gear icon will appear that lets you choose your desired color and opacity from a color wheel. Go ahead and move the first slider all the way to the left and then move the second slider a bit to the left until you get a pale gray navbar with easily distinguishable white buttons. That's it, you're set! The navigation bar will be transparent when it needs to be and switch pale gray with white buttons in all other instances. This will likely help diminish the possibility of developing display burn-in on your Pixel 2 or V30 or Note 8 or whatever other OLED Android phone you may have.


The fun way


Ok, so you may not want your navigation bar to be solid white at all times. Navbar Apps can also sample the main color from your currently opened app and apply it to the navigation bar, which looks cool and can also help prevent screen burn-in by not only diminishing the stark contrast of the default navbar, but also by animating it in the process. When the "Active App" setting is enabled in Navbar Apps, the color of the bar will change between apps with a cool wipe animation to reveal a different color. Less static imagery equals less burn-in. And if you don't like the color scheme for a certain app, you can tap on the "Gear" icon and override the settings for certain apps. For example, if  Google Chrome makes the navbar completely white, which diminishes the visibility of the buttons, you can simply add your custom color that will be applied each time you start up Chrome. Neat!


And that's pretty much it! Until Google implements a navbar that can hide automatically like on the Galaxy S8, Note 8, and V30, this is a good way to prevent burn-in on your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. But even when (if) that happens, if you want the navigation bar present at all times (like some users of the aforementioned phones do), Navbar Apps still offers a nice way to spice things up with a matching, animated navbar that won't leave permanent damage on the OLED display.

Download Navbar Apps on Google Play


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35 Comments

1. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

So we're talking navbar apps? What about the rest of the display where the notification panel is clear and the rest has a pinkish tint to it? Looks like an excuse to bring up a two-month-old issue that we're already aware of.

2. Milen_Y

Posts: 112; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

The burn-in issues currently affecting Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL units are mainly caused by the black-and-white navbar that's used system-wide. That's because it remains static for prolonged periods of time. Google knows this and is planning to implement a light-colored navigation bar to combat the issue. The rest of the display, with the exception of the status bar to some extent, is not affected by image retention from static UI elements. Or not to this extent, at least. Also, we are not bringing up a two-month-old issue that we are all already aware of, but rather sharing a neat trick that we've found useful for preventing it from happening. Cheers!

18. bambamboogy02

Posts: 838; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Or they can bring back buttons and no screen burn in.

22. KingSam

Posts: 1425; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Android should shuffle around the nav buttons like Samsung with native support. Or even better have it change from app to app to match the theme.

23. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

"Also, we are not bringing up a two-month-old issue that we are all already aware of, but rather sharing a neat trick that we've found useful for preventing it from happening. Cheers!" Chances are, unless you're an Android user that's 50 & older, the average savvy Android user has already tried that or installed a theme that has a light nav bar option. Cheerio!

3. Trex95

Posts: 2380; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

If you don’t want burn in on OLED don’t keep the phone in charger for the whole day plus don’t use the phone for hours and don’t text a lot.

4. notfair

Posts: 721; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

better yet, don't use the phone at all.

5. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

I already have burn in on my Note8. It began it's third week

6. cmdacos

Posts: 4119; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Curious to know what's burnt in? Almost impossible to get burn in that fast unless you are in demo mode.

7. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

He doesn't have one. Check comment number 4, and how he contradicted himself before going back to his cave when he was asked for a proof. https://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-S9-to-come-with-extremely-high-screen-to-body-ratio-rumor-claims_id100081

8. AdeelSoomro

Posts: 61; Member since: Oct 26, 2017

Your Note 8 must be a clone one

10. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Wait, I thought it happened in the 2nd week? Oh, and again, didn't you take back that burn in claim, and said it was another issue that you forgot it's name? You're do inconsistent with your lies kiddo, Techie would be so disappointed by you atm lol

9. mikehunta727 unregistered

Hide bottom nav bar on S8 series. Did that since day 1, no worries for me now over burn in on bottom bar and I added more usable screen space to my already big Note 8 screen, win/win imo

11. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I never hide it, and I'm yet to have any burn in issues. Samsung uses icons that are always moving to prevent burn ins on the nav bar.

13. mikehunta727 unregistered

It's not 100% preventable.. although using a light colored status bar helps a lot instead of using a always black one. I believe it also has option to change color based on the app which is nice. I like rocking with no nav bar though, adds even more usable screen space

21. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I agree, it is better without it, I'm just too lazy to swipe every time I want to go back lol

30. mikehunta727 unregistered

Mm yeah that was a little bit of a nag to get over initially but now I don't mind it at all and it's become 2nd nature to me

12. plasteek

Posts: 265; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

I want all these navbar to get away from my sight !!!!!!!!!!!

14. TBomb

Posts: 1413; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Since it's OLED, wouldn't the black Navbar PREVENT burn in? I thought black on LED meant the pixels weren't lit up. Not trolling - I'm actually looking for an explanation.

15. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

It's actually about how to even out burn-in. Black nav bar make other area burn faster than navbar area.

31. mikehunta727 unregistered

You have the right idea. The pixels in the black nav bar that are "black" and completely turned off are not aging at all when they are off, compared to the rest of the screen that is on So really it's everything outside the nav bar(not including the white buttons on nav bar) that is getting"burned in" and aging

16. Milen_Y

Posts: 112; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

Since the contrast ratio between pure white buttons against a solid black background is higher than, say, gray buttons against a lighter gray background, the latter would lead to less noticeable burn-in. However, your best bet would be to have things move around a little. That's why Android Wear has a burn-in reduction mechanism built-in that periodically shifts the contents of the screen by a few pixels.

19. mcoomes

Posts: 56; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

Can burn in be combated/mitigated by keeping the brightness lower? I tend to keep a pretty low setting just to extend battery, would be a great side benefit if burn in effect was also dampened.

25. f35hunter

Posts: 238; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

Note 8 already using light grey navbar!

27. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

My Motorola Moto X 2014 & Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 still don't have burn-in issue though I use my Moto X 2014 as my daily driver. Yet to witness burn-in.

29. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

It's sad to see iPhonearena so actively working to keep their major sponsor name out of any write-up that can be considered negative for the brand.

32. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Since the iPhone X doesn't use static white buttons with black backgrounds, nor any static white elements on a black background, nor has an app available to do stuff like this anyway, it's not really necessary to mention them in this article.

35. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

There is also "NavBar Animation" app, in which may help too , and "Muviz" too

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

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