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I was wrong about iPhone 14 Pro’s Always-On display

Updated Jan 6th, 2023 10:48AM EST
iPhone 14 Pro Max Always-On Display Lock Screen
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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The Always-On display was one of the most long-awaited iPhone features. Rumored for a few years, it finally arrived on the iPhone 14 Pro models. When Apple announced it, the company bet on a different approach than the traditional Always-On display.

While you usually see the time, notifications, and a black screen on Android devices, Apple decided to offer the user’s background dimmed out. At first, I didn’t like it. Although the feature was unique, as it would preserve the wallpaper’s colors, I thought it was a bit too on. In addition, I had three other concerns about this feature:

  1. Battery drains too fast: I noticed that the Lock Screen wasted more than 20% of my iPhone battery life. That means even if I’m not using it, the battery of the iPhone 14 Pro is simply draining;
  2. Redundancy with Apple Watch: Although not all users can say the same if you’re wearing an Apple Watch with Always-On display technology, having your iPhone and your Apple Watch with the screen on simultaneously feels redundant;
  3. Privacy inconsistency: Apple hides essential information such as Weather, Fitness, and Stock data while you don’t unlock your iPhone. But it shows the Message’s group names and who sends a message even if the iPhone is locked. Personally, I don’t think it makes sense.
Image source: José Adorno for BGR

Then, with iOS 16.2, Apple tweaked the Always-On display on iPhone 14 Pro models. Now, you can hide your wallpaper and notifications if you want to have only the time displayed on a black screen. At the moment this feature was available, I turned it on. But it made me realize two things:

  1. Battery was still draining more than it should: I didn’t notice a positive battery gain with this new Always-On display tweak. Having the feature truly on with only the time appearing, I feel I’m still losing more battery than it should, so what about just letting it on?
  2. I missed looking at the dimmed wallpaper: I know I just wrote that having the Always-On display while wearing an Apple Watch is redundant. But since I wasn’t saving battery life, I realized I missed looking at the wallpapers I had chosen to match my Focus modes throughout the day.

Wrap up

There isn’t a right answer for how to use the iPhone 14 Pro’s Always-On display feature. I’m sure Apple will improve the technology with new hardware to make it drain less battery over time. In the first iteration, the Cupertino firm is still trying to understand this function’s potential, as well as Dynamic Island – which I still think is underrated.

While I’m still getting used to the iPhone 14 Pro Max and its exclusive features, I think that, for now, I’ll stick with the Always-On display truly on. Who knows if Apple keeps tweaking it, and I have a new change of mind? I’ll let you know.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.