iPhone X OLED display burn-in: what's the danger and how to avoid it

iPhone X OLED display burn-in: what's the danger and how to avoid it

Screen burn-in – even if you're not familiar with this age-old display issue, it clearly sounds like something you don't want your smartphone to suffer by. It is a problem that has been getting a lot of attention recently due to it affecting the Google Pixel 2 XL according to multiple reports, but it has the potential to manifest itself on just about any phone with an OLED display. This includes the iPhone X. Yes, even Apple's 1000$ marvel is not immune to screen burn-in, as its maker openly confirms. But what is screen burn-in exactly, and should iPhone X owners be worried in the slightest?

What is screen burn-in?


Screen burn-in (also known as display burn-in) was first observed on old-school CRT television sets and computer monitors – displaying a static image for prolonged periods of time would leave a faint yet permanent shadow in its place. Computer screensavers, which today have little purpose beyond serving amusement, were made specifically to prevent this from happening by filling the screen with moving objects.

This plasma TV has suffered screen burn-in from constant static image exposure

This plasma TV has suffered screen burn-in from constant static image exposure


Much like their vintage counterparts, OLED screens are susceptible to screen burn-in. That's because their pixels get dimmer as they age, and having certain pixels lit for longer than others causes uneven wear on the display, hence producing the undesired effect. In some cases, the "ghost" of an image would disappear on its own after a short while. This is called image retention and while it may be annoying, at least it isn't permanent. However, leaving the OLED screen static for too long would cause irreversible damage in the form of burn-in. The image below shows what that might look like on a Pixel 2 XL's OLED display – traces of the on-screen navigation are visible even after the image has changed.


How to avoid display burn-in on iPhone X?


All of today's OLED displays deteriorate over time, and so will the one on the iPhone X. However, yours will not necessarily end up with screen burn-in, or at least not until long-time use. To prolong its healthy lifespan and prevent any burn-in from ever occurring, here are some simple tips to follow:

  • Avoid displaying static images on your iPhone X for too long. This could be the case if you leave your GPS navigation app running for hours at a time or if you play a game where certain images are constantly shown on the screen.
  • Do not leave your iPhone X display lit if that's unnecessary. Hit that sleep button before you put it down on the table. 
  • Don't set an unnecessarily long auto-lock time. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-lock and set a time of no more than a minute or two. 
  • Avoid using your iPhone X at maximum brightness for too long. Make sure that automatic brightness control is enabled by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations.

All in all, the TL;DR version of the story is that the iPhone X may be technically vulnerable to display burn-in, but if you take good care of yours and if you don't subject it to extremes, its screen should be fine. 

MORE ON THE IPHONE X:


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iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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60 Comments

6. redmd

Posts: 1902; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Display burn-in is a "feature"

8. emvxl

Posts: 139; Member since: Sep 29, 2009

Exactly.

11. adecvat

Posts: 600; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Invented by Samsung

16. plasteek

Posts: 265; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

But Apple will make it a revolution !

17. Dejan92

Posts: 141; Member since: Feb 06, 2014

But LG perfected it. :D

45. cheetah2k

Posts: 2156; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

No Apple invented all the technology that goes into the iPhone X - so it isn't Samsungs fault, Apple designed it that way ;)

55. hamaidx

Posts: 79; Member since: Apr 28, 2015

Guess you can't read - !!

59. M.O.A.B

Posts: 317; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

"Avoid using your iPhone X at maximum brightness for too long. Make sure that automatic brightness control is enabled by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations." So you have to go through all of this just to enable or disable auto brightness on ios ?? wow ! and they say ios is simple to use :/

9. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

oled is a great technology but when a technology has a huge downside (ive seen 4 old samsung devices with burn in in the past month) i dont understand why companies would keep using it in an essential device ... i went from the Note 5 to the HTC 10 to the Iphone 8 plus and the displays on the HTC 10 and The 8 Plus are just as good ...

21. rocker91

Posts: 86; Member since: Dec 09, 2016

My tab s is over 3 years old never had any issue so as my 2 year old note 5.

25. Macready

Posts: 1798; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Having an S8, S8 + and iPhone 8 Plus in our household, one must either be smoking good stuff or not very critical to say their screens are equally good. Frankly, the iPhone screen falls apart in very low light. Yes, you can now choose a very low brightness too, but it just gives you dark grayd with a glimmer and low contrast. Not nearly as easy on the eyes as the OLED screens, which retain a nice gamma curve. In bright light outside the OLED screens win again thanks to better readability due to higher contrast. Movies in HDR? Another win for the latter. The iPhone 8 doesn't support it. Always on functionality? No go on the iPhone LCD. The small color shift under an angle on the S8, is also far less affecting usability than the loss of brightness and contrast under such extreme angles on the iPhone's LCD.

10. Soundjudgment

Posts: 370; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

"You're burning it in wrong."

12. palmguy

Posts: 955; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Your brand new $1000 device is made of glass. Be careful! Your brand new $1000 device screen can fail. Use it differently. Your brand new $1000 device has gestures. Here's a manual. Magical.

13. GdgetXpert1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

LOLL SO FUNNY!!!! I REMEMBER when many andro fan over yaers deny even burn in was actual thing and evn existed, now tat iPhone X come with best display smartpone ever an it OLED, now they kno all about burn in and magically somehow now it real and can happen on the X, all thes year they deny an DENY burn-in was acktual thing and somehow now in today age burnin is real LOL!!...

15. Awalker

Posts: 1958; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

What Android fan denied burn-in being an actual thing?

20. GdgetXpert1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

Many, many many android fan on internet, over the years that I came acros, both in person an on internet But now that X have OLED screen and it best display on market for now, now burn in real and can happen to the X, only cuz they don' like the X, but it couldn't ever happen to their favorite device rite?!?

38. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Isn't that the same thing iPhone users used to rail about in regards to AMOLED panels, that they were susceptible to burn-in? But now that it's on the iPhone it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Android fans don't have the corner market on hypocrisy. Also let's not ignore that Apple's supposed strongest glass on a smartphone can somehow be damaged by something as small as a three foot drop.

40. GdgetXpert1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

Yas iPhone users used 2 say that cause it true, older generation OLED panel were very sucseptible to burn in, esepcially with older version android wich status bar used to remian black all the time, and on screen key do burn in to OLED devices. Samsung latest OLED display tech is very solid fighting burn in, smart software mitigate burn in like no on screen navigation bar, status bar change color in apps. pixel shifting tech, crosstalk reduction, stuf like that, was not in older OLED panels iX do not have on screen navigation key like Pixel an stuff, only tiny gesture bar that change color in and out of app, also use pixel shifting technology, stuff like that Also keep mind tat when Apple say strongest glass in smartphone, they mean gorilla glass 5, which curently strongest glass for smartphone atm iphone x will get burn in eventually to yes, with maybe like cellar bar/battery life bar over time, but it about mitigating how much you can see it, like not having on screen key, etc, you kno tat wud be very noticeably when web browsing, etc lanscape and things

41. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

And that's true of any OLED, and has been for awhile now. But the funny thing is, that didn't stop Apple folks from bashing it anyways, until it was rumored that it was coming to the iPhone. Then it was a different story. Apple has posted a disclaimer warning people to limit displaying static images for extended time periods, and keeping the brightness down to combat burn-in. If they're putting that out there, they know it's going to be an issue. No company is going to highlight issues and list possible remedies unless there's a good chance of them occurring. If that's the case, then why are suffering from damage from as little as a three foot drop when other phones using GG5 aren't having that problem?

42. GdgetXpert1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

u mus be acting obtuse on purpose, plenty of videos online showing GG5 device cracking on first drop, etc. IT' glass mate, not adamantium or metal yea Apple know OLED will burn in because it is the nature of the technology for now, what is your point? ANy OLED maker know this is a issue with OLED an not unique to Apple only, Apple actually acknowledge it, would like to see the same from Samsung because it will happen to both devices They offering tips 2 user on how to mitigate, Samsung don't do this at all

44. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

So any device that has a glass screen cracks on the first drop? Now who's being intentionally obtuse. Since metal (adamantium is metal btw) isn't transparent, your choices are plastic or glass. And just because Corning says it's the strongest glass doesn't make it so. Otherwise, how have even older phones been able to be dropped (sometimes multiple times) from higher heights and not crack? There's a reason the X is being called the most fragile phone, even BGR ran that story. So them saying what anyone can find with a simple web search is laudable? Pretty much anything every OLED maker knows is publicly accessible information. There are plenty of forums posts on the matter as well. So Apple is the only one doing what you're suggesting to mitigate OLED burn in? You do realize how long has Samsung been doing OLED screens don't you? They've already done the hard work. As for how well calibrated the screens are or aren't, it's not like Samsung isn't capable of calibrating their screens the same way Apple has with the X. But just like a lot of TV and gaming monitor OEMs, they use a more saturated look to make the colors pop. I don't prefer it myself, but a lot of people like that, the same way people go for vibrant colors in clothing and vehicles. Normally I use sRGB mode for a more accurate image, but to each his own. And I noticed you've still not acknowledged that the X wasn't the first to cause burn-in hysteria as you've claimed. They were late for that by two weeks. And please, try proofreading your comments before you post them, it's like trying to read Sanskrit. Were you writing this walking on a tightrope?

46. cheetah2k

Posts: 2156; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

GdgetXpert1337 - oh the irony of that name. cant spell, 3year old grammar, has no idea on anything.. VZWuser76 - you sir are a legend

51. GdgetXpert1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

Sure is, I owned him, he implied GG5 device don't crack from first drop or first attempt wen there is countless videos online say otherwise. you 2 both can go run off in delusion together, let the grown men stick 2 gadgets and tech Like GG5 device have magical glass that don't crack ... LOL man you fanboy are so ridiculous its unbelievable

50. GdgetXpert1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

You def are acting like a moron on purpose now caues you literaly said this; "If that's the case, then why are suffering from damage from as little as a three foot drop when other phones using GG5 aren't having that problem?" u implied GG5 devices don't suffer damage from 3 foot drops and implied that iPhone only suffers from this, when there literally many of videos online of Note 8/etc cracking/taking damage on first drop, stop fanboying please English not my 1st language and i dont care, i still am facutally rite

52. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I said other phones with GG5, I didn't say all phones with GG5, there's a difference. And of those with GG5, how many are claiming they have the strongest glass in a smartphone? And if all Apple is using is GG5, as others are, their statement is misleading, as if their phone is the only one who has it and it's the strongest, which it isn't. Do a search for "iPhone X fragile". But, it doesn't change the fact that other phones, even those without GG5 have survived drops from higher and not had their screens crack. So how do you reconcile the claim it's the strongest when it's more fragile than other phones, some made with older forms of GG? Corning has had issues in the past with their newer versions of GG being more fragile than their previous iterations, and they ended up having to change the formula to something more akin to a couple generations before. Yes, I'm sure you are facutally right. Unfortunately you're not factually right, and that's more important.

53. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Apple is reporting, but Samsungs manuals also mentions those facts. It is simply a flaw im the tech But as the posted above you said. OORMs like Samaung is using software and causing static icons to shift over time to orevent rhe image sitting still for long periods. Displays tuen off after only a few sections. Hiding navigation bars. Offering the ability to adjust color saturation and more. 5 years ago it was an issue. Ive said that lots of times. Its still somrthing that cab hapoen.. Well guess what, the bolts on yoir on wheels holds it to the axle. But the wheel can still fall off.

54. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

"Well guess what, the bolts on yoir on wheels holds it to the axle. But the wheel can still fall off." Are they made of GG5 as well? If the wheel were to fall off, it would be because it was exposed to extreme shearing force or a defect in metal. A three foot drop isn't extreme force, so not a comparable analogy.

24. japkoslav

Posts: 1373; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Well tell it to my grandpa Samsung SII, still free of burnin :-D Burn-in is realy issue, it just does not appeared on my old, backup phone. I guess it's how you use it. Lotsa static images = problem, my kind of usage = no problem. Same thing goes for my Meizu Pro 5 - still no sign of burn in. I guess i must be lucky or something ... or the problem is not just that huge and it just attracts a lot of readers -> traffic -> ad revenue?

35. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I had it on my Galaxy S3 after about a year. Mine showed up as a 3/16" wide line down the right side of the display. I used my phone almost exclusively in landscape orientation when web surfing, so I'm sure that's what caused it. The bad part is, I kept my brightness at 40-50% for better battery life, so high brightness is a requirement to cause burn-in.

37. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

That should've said high brightness ISN'T a requirement to cause burn-in. Also I should mention, the line down the side of the display was caused by the status bar in landscape orientation.

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