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How to enable iPhone 14 Pro’s secret black-and-white always-on display mode

Updated Sep 26th, 2022 9:57AM EDT
Apple's iPhone 14 Pro features an always-on display.
Image: Apple

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The new iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are the first iPhones with always-on displays. This was one of the features that Apple highlighted during its September event, but now that consumers are starting to get their hands on the new iPhones, not everyone is thrilled about it. Unlike on other phones, Apple’s always-on mode shows the entire lock screen, complete with the wallpaper, widgets, and notifications. It’s just slightly dimmer.

Many iPhone 14 Pro owners (myself included) found this distracting. It was the first feature I turned off after setting up my iPhone. But it turns out that there is a secret black-and-white always-on display mode that might suit your needs better.

How to activate Dim Lock Screen on iPhone

In order to find a more traditional always-on display, you’ll need to set it up in Focus. Go to Settings > Focus > pick a Focus mode (Do Not Disturb, Work, etc.) > Options, and then tap the toggle next to Dim Lock Screen. Now, whenever you lock your phone during that Focus schedule, a black-and-white lock screen will appear.

The dimmed lock screen still shows the time, the date, and your widgets, but the rest of the screen is pitch black. It’s far less distracting, but as 9to5Mac notes, there are a few significant drawbacks to using this version of the always-on display.

First of all, if you want your lock screen to look this way forever, you’ll need to be in a Focus mode all day. The Focus mode you chose also appears at the bottom of the screen. Secondly, the dimmed lock screen is present even when you unlock your iPhone. Whether you use Face ID or swipe down from the top-left corner, the screen will still be dim.

If you already use Apple’s Focus modes throughout the day, then this is a convenient way to change the look of your lock screen. If not, it might not be worth the hassle. Hopefully, Apple brings the Dim Lock Screen option to the main display settings eventually.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, read our iPhone 14 Pro review.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.