You’re looking at your phone the wrong way… Ok? Ok.
We’re done here, roll the credits boys!
Nah, I’m kidding. You certainly do know how to look at your phone, or at least that’s what I’m hoping for. Basically, it’s not just you, it’s not your fault and (to much surprise) it’s also not Apple’s fault. Believe it or not, Samsung is the main culprit, and the problem is connected to the OLED displays used in the new iPhones.
Now, how did the main competitor end up as the main troublemaker for the eyestrain problem with the iPhone X and all other OLED iterations after? Well, they produce the displays which are used within the iPhones, which is a well known fact. Apple has been a loyal Samsung customer for years, not because they are good friends, but rather because of the fact that Samsung is one of the few manufacturers who can keep Apple happy and actually produce such a huge amount of displays.
But let’s come to the point, what did they screw up?
It’s called OLED Flickering, two words describing a problem which “the regular user” shouldn’t be able to see, but a good portion of us still sees it. To give you a better overview of the issue, your iPhone with an OLED display (iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max) needs to control and regulate your backlight brightness through the day, to do that, the device is cycling the backlight on and off in a rapid succession, which results in the above mentioned flickering – thus the name OLED Flickering.
Let me show you an example on an iPhone X. Basically I just took a camera and shoot a video above the screen under the Automatic Brightness settings with True Tone on, it looks like this:
This method is called Pulse Width Modulation (for my fellow gym lovers, the abbreviation is PWM, but it’s not something edible) and, technically, it should be undetectable for the majority of users, which it is, but in return that small portion of iPhone users, including myself, is experiencing eye straining from the new iPhone.
So, Apple didn’t screw up anything, except that they used a proven source of OLED displays from Samsung, who (through their own research) gathered enough info to mark the technology they offer as “passable”, which ended up in millions of satisfied customers, but also a percentage of users who just can’t look at this irritating flickering the whole damn day.
I feel like my eyes are surrounded by a fog every time I spend more then 2 minutes on my iPhone, and to solve it, I finally found out the right solution.
Eye strain issue on iPhone X solved within three clicks
Now, you saw the above photo, right? Let me now show you how the same flickering looks once you start messing around with the settings of your iPhone X, iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max. Just pull down your settings menu and adjust the brightness, you’re going to get something like this:
There it is, we found the right settings, now the only thing you need to do is actually implement it so that it makes sense for your day to day usage, let me show you how to do it:
- Go to your display settings
- Turn off true tone and the automatic brightness feature
- Set your brightness to 50% and keep it that way
Once you implement the above setup, you will have a PWM free display, but, you will soon figure out that through the day the display is to dark, and through the night to bright, which can be easily be solved with a small accessibility hack, where we come to the subtitle of this part – three clicks. Let me show you what you need to do:
- First, search your settings for Display Accommodations under Accessibility
- Then, under Display Accommodations activate Reduce White Point by tapping the check box
- Now, tap the Reduce White Point label outside of the check box and configure it as shown on the screen below (I would recommend around 90%, but you can set it up to your liking).
- Once you’re done with that, go to the Accessibility Shortcut settings
- Enable and configure it to invoke Reduce White Point
Finally, with three taps on the sleep/wake button, you can either enable or disable the Reduce White Point feature, or in other words, once you’re inside the house, keep it disabled, once you go outside where it’s brighter, three clicks and bam, it’s enabled.
And that’s it folks, you got yourself a PWM free iPhone X or iPhone XS! Be sure to share this tutorial with your fellow OLED iPhone owners.