The dark theme is a built-in feature of various Android and iPhone apps (iOS). It’s become common that choosing this option minimizes the amount of energy consumed throughout the day. But how much does the dark theme truly save in terms of battery life? I’ll show you the numbers below.

We can obtain a clear idea of how much this feature saves the mobile phone battery based on a study by researchers at Purdue University (USA). But first and most, it’s important to note that the savings is only available on models with an OLED screen that disables light output in black. Other systems only apply a “filter” to pixels rather than delivering a true reduction.

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The researchers were able to conclude after several tests that the dark theme in applications reduced the amount of energy used, although not as much as they had hoped. Using popular Google apps on smartphones with few customizations on Android, such as the Pixel 2, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, and Moto Z3, the analysis found that the devices consumed between 44 percent and 63 percent of battery in the clear theme, with screen brightness between 30 percent and 50 percent.

When the smartphones were switched to the dark theme, they saved much less battery than expected, between 3% and 9%. With maximum brightness, however, this figure jumped to 47 percent.

How much battery is saved by using the dark theme?

However, when we consider that the majority of users do not use their phones at this brightness level, preferring instead to maintain it between 30% and 50%, the savings reported are not as considerable. As a result, the researchers warn that if you have a smartphone with an OLED screen, setting the dark theme in your major applications is unlikely to have a significant positive impact.

That is, while this option does not significantly increase smartphone battery life, it can provide additional performance if you consider using the device at full brightness, which can cause a lot of visual discomfort.

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