iPhone X: We can reduce but not eliminate burn-in on OLED screen, says Apple

Burn-in is a fact of life for OLED displays, including the iPhone X's Super Retina display.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Video: iPhone X review: Face ID, the notch, and a new screen

Apple has published a new support document for the iPhone X that explains some of the benefits and risks associated with its new Super Retina display.

The iPhone X is the first iPhone to employ an OLED display, which brings sharper and more vivid images, but also the risk of burn-in or image persistence.

Burn-in is a common problem with OLEDs and happens with long-term use, particularly around elements of the screen that are constantly lit.

Google is working on an update for the Pixel 2 XL's OLED display after reviewers found some of the devices suffered from burn-in on the navigation icons. It was remarkable for this problem to be occurring on brand-new devices.

Apple says its Super Retina display overcomes the challenges with traditional OLED displays, but warns that it has only designed the iPhone X's display to reduce but not eliminate the effects of burn-in.

"With extended long-term use, OLED displays can also show slight visual changes. This is also expected behavior and can include 'image persistence' or 'burn-in', where the display shows a faint remnant of an image even after a new image appears on the screen," Apple says.

"This can occur in more extreme cases such as when the same high-contrast image is continuously displayed for prolonged periods of time. We've engineered the Super Retina display to be the best in the industry in reducing the effects of OLED burn-in."

Apple says iOS 11 contains features that aim to minimize the effects of long-term use and extend the life of the display.

Other things users can do to protect the Super Retina display include using auto-brightness and setting the iPhone X to switch off the display when it's not being used. Apple recommends selecting a short time using Auto Lock.

It also warns against displaying static images at maximum brightness for extended periods and advises users to reduce the brightness level on the screen if an app keeps the display on when it's not being actively used.

Apple also notes that iPhone X users may see "slight shifts in color and hue", but says this phenomenon is normal behavior for OLED displays.

Google's upcoming update for mitigating burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL will automatically fade out the navigation bar buttons after a short period of activity.


Apple says iOS 11 contains features for minimizing the effects of long-term use and extend the life of the iPhone X display.

Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

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