Bright side of Dark Mode: What it means on iOS 13, Android 10 & Windows 10
Dark mode in any app shows a black background with white or coloured text.
Google this week announced that Dark mode is coming to Gmail and Google Maps. Facebook has already rolled it out on Messenger and Instagram while Microsoft has it on Windows 10. It’s clearly one of the biggest trends of 2019 and the pitch behind it largely remains simple: it’s good for your eyes. But is it really less strenuous to the eyes? And how does it work?
Simply put, Dark mode in any app shows a black background with white or coloured text rather than the usual white background with black text. Experts feel that this is certainly a better option to have — especially in low-light conditions — but won’t really do wonders to the strain on your eyes. Kamlesh Bhargava, a Canada-based doctor with international experience in clinical teaching, research and development of family medicine, believes that over exposure to blue light for long duration of time is generally harmful to the eye. “Dark mode ideally should help reduce that and make it easier on the eyes for those who like to use stare at their phone/tablet screen at night.” It, however, won’t completely reduce the strain on your eyes, he adds.
The American Academy of Opthamology, on the other hand, in a study conducted in 2018 suggested “that there is no scientific evidence that blue light from digital devices causes damage to your eye.” But it also in May 2019 said that “Although blue light exposure is important to some degree, it is true that sleep cycles may be disrupted if not handled in moderation at night.”
This is where Dark mode steps in. The American Academy of Opthamology on its website suggests that “Night mode reduces the stark contrast between the screen and dark room, and can reduce some of the symptoms that contribute to the feeling of eye strain.”
Bhargava cites the examples of e-readers like Kindle and Kobo that come with e-ink displays which are reflective and not emissive like LCD found on smartphones. “They are relatively easier on the eyes,” he says.
Dark mode will be virtually omnipresent on smartphones thanks to iOS 13 and Android 10 and will also help in saving battery life. However, that’s only on OLED displays and not LCD screens. This is because on an OLED screen, when a pixel is showing true black, it doesn’t draw power whereas on an LCD display, the backlight is always on and uses the same amount of power irrespective of any colour that is displayed.
In other words, it will save battery of high-end phones and not the sub Rs 15,000 ones.
(The writer is with gadgetsnow.com.)