Finally, the iPhone has an always-on display. In true Apple fashion, though, it’s very different from what we’ve seen on Android phones — and exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro models, so you’ll need one of Apple’s latest and greatest phones to get it.
But if you’ve pre-ordered an iPhone 14, you’ll find that the always-on screen isn’t a copy of the Galaxy S22 or Pixel 6. Apple has implemented smart, unique features in its always-on concept. And some Android phone manufacturers may change the way they do things.
The picture on the lock screen does not disappear
For the past 15 years, our Lock Screens have made short work of it. We carefully select the right photo and see it about a second before unlocking our phone. The iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display changes that: now our Lock Screen photo is visible even when our phone goes to sleep. That’s unlike any Android phone: some offer images that can appear, but none show you a full photo once the screen turns off.
The always-on displays of most Android phones show a series of widgets that let you know the time, date, and whether an app has notified you. It looks like they would be helpful, but they really aren’t – to get real information you need to unlock your phone or at least turn on the screen and read the notification.
That’s not how it is with the iPhone 14 Pro. The widgets and notification banners remain visible so you can see more than just the time and date, while some notifications, such as timers, continue to update in the background. Like on the Apple Watch, the always-on display is very much an extension of the lock screen and not something separate, making it feel more personal, dynamic and, well, more useful.
Android’s always-on displays haven’t changed that much in the past five years. They show the time and date against a black background, offer a few customization options and eat up battery life. Apple’s version doesn’t.
First, the iPhone 14 Pro uses the same LTPO display in the Apple Watch that lowers the refresh rate all the way to 1 Hz, so it consumes as little power as possible. And that’s not all: the always-on display of the iPhone 14 Pro will also extend battery life by turning off when the display is facing down or in your pocket, or when you leave the room while you’re wearing an Apple Watch. I bet we’ll see similar functionality in the next Android Always-on screens as well.
It works with apps
The always-on display isn’t just for looking at. Several Apple apps still work while the always-on screen is active, including the Apple TV remote, Maps, Phone, and Voice Memos. That means certain apps will display controls instead of the time and widgets, making it even more useful. It’s a really smart way to use the always-on screen as a tool rather than just something to look at.