This Android app turns off the display's backlight without turning off the screen, saving battery (root)


Developer: Erwin GoslawskiDownload: Android
Category: ToolsPrice: Free / Paid

If you ever tried playing a video with your Android screen turned off, you know what happens - you can't. Most video players simply stop playback, oblivious to the fact that you might be playing a live show video, or a lecture - the kind of content you don't necessarily need to watch, but you have to listen to. Why drain the device's battery by keeping the screen on all the time? 

Well, this is Android, which means you don't have to! The app Screen Backlight OFF lets you switch off your LCD display's backlight without turning off the screen itself. Thus, the device will stay awake, media playback will continue, but the screen won't eat up battery. To turn the backlight on again, simply tap the screen. That's all there's to it! However, SBO is a root app, so don't bother with it if your device isn't rooted.

SBO controls with a button residing inside the notifications drawer, which means you can access it from anywhere. It also features a configurable activation delay time, if you need it. It can also let other apps - such as automation tools like Tasker - use it to switch off the backlight.

Screen Backlight Off is a paid app, but members of the XDA Developer board can sideload it for free.

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14 Comments

1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Would be cool if you could somehow turn off the backlight but leave on the pixels, in effect making it like an e-ink display. I doubt that's at all possible though...

2. user996

Posts: 221; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

"Night Mode" in play store

4. TyrionLannister unregistered

No, it's not possible. You need energy to make light and without consuming power, you can't make light. E-ink panels use sun's light and reflect it. They have colored pigments that change the color( by coming closer or further from screen) based on the electric charge beneath them. In darkness, e-ink doesn't work as it can't produce it's own light.

3. mrej201

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 04, 2015

Anything is possible with android

5. TyrionLannister unregistered

For the people who are thinking that the screen will be on but paused, they're wrong. The screen will shut off completely. Just the digitizer will be on and you'll be able to turn it off without pressing power key. More or less like the double tap to wake on LG phones( M8, Z2 and Z3 too)

6. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1183; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

I don't think so, i think it's more like the LCD part of the display will still be on while the LED back-lit will be turned off.

7. TyrionLannister unregistered

Yeah. Exactly. And without the backlit, there's no light. The LCD part just filters light. Do you even science bro. Where did the phone will get the energy for the pixels to emit light. And these aren't e-in or mirasol which can retain color as there is no color pigment in LCD.

8. mixedfish

Posts: 1556; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

That's not correct, you don't need light (LED/fluorescent) to turn on pixels to generate color/pictures. And yes you can still see the pixels because LCD panels are not 100% transparent. My laptop can turn off the backlight, and if you shine a lamp on it, you can see the computer running.

9. TyrionLannister unregistered

Well, that's something different. The pixels can just filter the light. Yes, the pixels are turned on, but they don't glow. if you put a lamp on it, the pixels will filter the light other way and reflect some of it. Your eyes get that reflected light. However, that's the lamp's light you're getting. The pixels aren't generating s**t. They're just pixels.

10. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Praying very hard for someone to expand this project to bring double-tap-to-wake on every Android device

11. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

We don't need it. Coz we are AMOLED users.

14. jdrch

Posts: 107; Member since: Jul 08, 2014

Was about to say the same.

12. Rhinoface

Posts: 179; Member since: Dec 05, 2014

It'd be neat if this were like a Gameboy screen when you turn it off.

13. Sidewinder

Posts: 515; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

On mx player there is an option to playback video even with the display turned off.

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