Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Ashish
Apple’s introduction of Dynamic Island wasn’t the sole significant alteration to the display in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. An additional enhancement was the incorporation of an always-on display feature. While this feature was exclusively available to the Pro models, there’s speculation regarding its potential inclusion in the iPhone 15 lineup.
Considering that the Dynamic Island, a feature we commended in our reviews of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, is rumored to trickle down to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, it’s plausible that the always-on display might follow suit. In the subsequent sections, we will delve into these rumors, exploring the likelihood of an always-on display in the iPhone 15 and identifying the specific models that may or may not feature this functionality. But before delving into that, let’s first provide an overview of what exactly an always-on display entails and Apple’s approach to implementing it.
What is an Always-On Display?
An always-on display, as the term suggests, is a screen that remains active at all times or rarely turns completely off. In practical terms, this means that when the power button is pressed to deactivate the screen or when it goes inactive on its own, certain information continues to be displayed instead of the screen going completely dark.
This information can encompass elements like the current time, date, and notifications. While this feature has been a staple in Android phones for a while, it was only introduced to iPhones with the iPhone 14 Pro series. Various phones handle this differently; most Android devices display the screen in grayscale during the always-on display mode. This conserves the battery and prevents the screen from appearing fully illuminated. However, Apple’s approach integrates color, although in more muted tones compared to when the phone is awakened.
With Apple’s implementation of the always-on display, users can choose to display the lock screen wallpaper and notifications or disable either or both of these options. When both options are deactivated, the always-on display will exclusively show the time and any other widgets configured on the lock screen, set against a black backdrop. Certain elements such as timers are also displayed, albeit without the second’s countdown, only indicating the nearest minute.
Regardless of whether we examine Apple’s or Android’s approach, a crucial element of the always-on display is a low refresh rate, ensuring that battery consumption remains minimal compared to an active screen. For the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, the refresh rate is reduced all the way to 1Hz. This is a significant decrease from the maximum 120Hz when the phone is in active use, resulting in minimal impact on battery life. However, it’s important to note that some battery drainage still occurs. Consequently, if prioritizing battery longevity is paramount, users have the option to disable the always-on display.
Will the iPhone 15 Embrace an Always-On Display?
As mentioned earlier, the always-on display in iPhones results in a refresh rate of 1Hz. Given this fact, it seems increasingly unlikely that the iPhone 15 will adopt an always-on display feature, primarily due to a leak indicating that the iPhone 15 will retain a 60Hz screen refresh rate, which cannot be altered.
Furthermore, a recent statement from display expert Ross Young on X (formerly Twitter) noted that the standard iPhone 15 will persist with an LTPS (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon) display, similar to the previous year. While the mention doesn’t explicitly refer to the always-on display, it effectively eliminates the possibility of achieving a 1Hz refresh rate, as Apple requires LTPO (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide) displays for this functionality.
Ross Young even asserted that the standard iPhone models are not anticipated to integrate LTPO screens until the iPhone 17, slated for 2025. If these leaks hold true, it is highly unlikely that the iPhone 15 will feature an always-on display, as it could potentially drain the battery excessively.
However, while no leaks have explicitly suggested the absence of an always-on display, there hasn’t been any confirmation of its presence either. Only a few sources have touched on the refresh rate aspect. Therefore, while improbable, the inclusion of an always-on display in the iPhone 15 cannot be entirely ruled out.
What About the iPhone 15 Plus?
The aforementioned leaks specifically indicate that solely the Pro models will possess the capability to achieve a 1Hz refresh rate. Based on historical patterns, it’s reasonable to assume that the iPhone 15 Plus will utilize the same screen technology as the standard iPhone 15.
Considering this, it is unlikely that the iPhone 15 Plus will incorporate an always-on display feature. Furthermore, if the iPhone 15 does indeed lack this feature, as per rumors, it is highly probable that the iPhone 15 Plus will follow suit.
While the potential for an always-on display in the iPhone 15 Plus cannot be completely discounted, the prevailing indications suggest that its implementation is improbable. Given the rumors surrounding the introduction of the Dynamic Island and a 48MP camera to the standard and Plus models, Apple’s strategy appears to involve reserving certain features to maintain the distinction of the Pro models compared to the standard and Plus variants.
Will the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max Retain the Always-On Display?
Apple tends to preserve existing features in its devices, and considering the recent introduction of the always-on display in the previous year, it’s highly unlikely that the company would omit this feature from the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Consequently, while the possibility of an always-on display in the iPhone 15 Plus and standard iPhone 15 seems remote, the Pro models are almost certain to include the always-on display functionality once again.
This belief is reinforced by the inclusion of a new StandBy feature in iOS 17, explicitly designed to enhance the always-on display experience. With StandBy, the iPhone can essentially function as a smart display while charging, capable of exhibiting a wider range of content compared to the standard always-on display. Additionally, colors remain vibrant and unaffected.
Considering Apple’s continued development of the always-on display concept, it is highly improbable that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will omit this feature. While potential upgrades beyond StandBy remain to be seen, it’s conceivable that these enhancements would manifest as software updates. As with StandBy, it’s reasonable to expect these changes to also extend to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
In conclusion, Apple’s decision to introduce the Dynamic Island and always-on display features brought substantial changes to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models. The prospect of an always-on display in the iPhone 15, especially the standard and Plus models, appears doubtful based on current leaks and industry insights. However, the Pro models are poised to continue integrating the always-on display functionality, reinforced by Apple’s commitment to enhancing this feature, as exemplified by the introduction of the StandBy mode in iOS 17.