Android 12 fans took an early look at Google’s next big software upgrade. The first developer preview for Android 12 was released by the Mountain View-based company and shows new additions like a redesign for your notifications, a one-handed mode and a more accessible emergency SOS feature. On the flip side, that early look at Android 12 has revealed that Google’s new update may cause your phone’s battery to drain a little faster.
That’s because Android 12 is tinkering with the dark mode theme, which is crucial for the battery-saving properties of this gritty appearance. As reported by Android Police, Dark Mode in Android 12 no longer uses true blacks. Instead, the Dark Mode theme chooses a very dark shade of blue-gray.
This was noted in the Pixel version of the Android 12 preview. There is still a lot of time before the launch – so it’s possible that something will change – but currently Android 12 no longer offers longer battery life on Google’s Pixel smartphones.
This is due to the way OLED displays work. These panels are common on most Android smartphones from the mid-range to the flagship price tags. Unlike LCD displays, which use backlighting across the entire screen to illuminate the pixels, in OLED panels each pixel is its own light source. To create a white tone, the pixels in the OLED increase their brightness – and to create a blackness, they switch off the light. Since no light is used for a black screen, it saves electricity.
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This is not the case on the LCD as the backlight still needs to be on (a little) or you will not be able to see anything on the screen. If you switch the dark mode from pitch black to dar blue on Android 12, the pixels of the OLED displays must remain lit, which drains the battery.
We’ll have to wait and see if this Dark Mode change affects other Android phones as well, but it could be quite controversial.
Something similar happened last year when WhatsApp released its long-awaited Dark Mode, but there was a noticeable difference between the iOS and Android apps. The iPhone Dark Mode theme used deep blacks while the Android version used a dark gray color scheme.
WhatsApp fans were unhappy about this disparity between iOS and Android for two reasons: First, on a visual level, they felt that the true blacks just looked better on iOS. However, they also felt that this change could have an impact on the battery. This is because, unlike their LCD counterparts, OLED does not require a backlight.
So far, the early verdict on the new Android 12 Dark Mode has been mixed. On Twitter, an Android fan who saw the developer preview tweeted: “I prefer the new darker gray color, but I also prefer the light mode (until sunset, when dark mode kicks in).”
While another wrote, “Android 12 Dark Mode is awful. Light Mode is better”. One added: “No! Pitch black is what we need. Battery saving and less eye strain. Win-win for us.”
And another tweeted: “Pitch black is actually too high-contrast when there is white text. I think the new change looks better.” While one wrote, “Google is destroying Android !! We need a black theme, not a dark theme.”