Recently, a reputable leaker claimed that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max would likely have an always-on display, and now Apple has accidentally confirmed it.
You see, at WWDC 2022 the company unveiled iOS 16 and even released a developer beta of the software, and while no mention of an always-on display was made, there were several such mentions. were found by 9to5Mac (opens in a new tab) in the beta code.
The site claims that three new frameworks have been added to iOS 16, each relating to backlight management, and each mentioning an always-on display. There are also apparently multiple mentions of the feature in the Springboard, which is software that handles the lock screen and home screen.
Now, some Apple Watch models already have an always-on display, so there might have been an outside chance those mentions were referring to the feature there rather than the iPhone, except – as 9to5Mac points out – the ‘Apple Watch doesn’t use Springboard, so it looks like this should be an upcoming iPhone feature.
Specifically, this is likely a feature in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max – not one that will come to the standard iPhone 14 or older models.
At least, that’s what the previous rumor claimed, and that’s because the next Pro models could have a variable refresh rate that can vary from 120Hz to 1Hz – this extremely low refresh rate being ideal for a display permanent.
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max, meanwhile, might only drop to 10Hz like the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, which would mean battery life might suffer too much with an always-on display.
That said, there’s apparently evidence in the iOS 16 code that Apple is at least testing the feature on older phones, so there’s an outside chance we could see it on them – although more likely it was probably just so engineers don’t need a working iPhone 14 Pro to develop and test the feature.
Analysis: the advantages of an always-on display
An always-on display is a feature that a number of Android phones have had for a long time now, so Apple is late in that regard, and it’s a great feature for a phone to offer.
This basically means that when you turn off the screen, some of the content will remain on it, so you can still see things like the time and notifications.
There are usually no animations or interactive elements, so the refresh rate can be as low as 1Hz, which means battery life is as low as possible. Most of the screen also usually stays dark for the same reason.
But it does mean you can view key information at a glance, anytime, without having to wake your phone – an action that requires an extra step and – if done often enough – could use more battery than a permanent display.