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How to get the most out of the iPhone 14 Pro always-on display
Since Apple was so late to the always-on display party, it decided to take its own approach. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are the first to support the feature, which presents as a slightly dimmer version of your lock screen, complete with widgets, notifications, and your custom clock. You can customize just about every aspect of the always-on display, you just have to know where to start. Here’s how to get the most out of your iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display.
Read more: Apple iPhone 14 buyer’s guide
Apple's iPhone 14 always-on display is a great way to get notifications and check widgets without waking your phone. You can switch up the style just like you would with your home screen or turn it off altogether with just a few steps. If the always-on display is too “on" for you, you can reduce the brightness without losing your widgets.
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What is Apple’s always-on display
The always-on display, at least on Android, is little more than a black screen with a clock and a few notifications. It’s a subtle, simple way to keep track of what’s going on. Apple’s approach is a little more heavy-handed. As seen above, the always-on display is a dimmed-down version of your lock screen — widget customizations and all.
Apple has no problems admitting that it was a little late to the always-on game, but it explains the delay as a side effect of tuning the efficiency of the display and minimizing the power draw. The iPhone 14 Pro’s new display allows Apple to drop the refresh rate as low as 1Hz, which was the key to rolling out the always-on feature.
What are the benefits of using it?
The main benefit of using the iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display is that you can keep up with the time and notifications without unlocking your phone. This means you can respond to what’s important while letting less pressing notifications like Twitter and Instagram go. You’ll still see everything come through, just with less of a push to open your phone.
As seen above, the clock and weather widget are still visible against the darkened background, while other features like the flashlight and camera fade from view. The iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display also lets you admire your carefully curated wallpaper without using the full brightness of the display.
How does it affect battery life?
According to Apple, the always-on display on the iPhone 14 Pro has no impact on battery life. However, our real-life experience has been a little different. We’ve noticed a drop of at least a few percent on most days, even with no notifications on the display. This could be idle drain from searching for a mobile signal, but it could also come down to the display needing just a little extra power.
Tips and tricks to get more from the iPhone 14 Pro always-on display
Not all always-on displays are created equal, we know that. Apple’s offering packs more features than most, but deciding which ones you actually care about can be tough. We’ve spent a few months with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, and we have some tips to get a little more out of your display.
Add some widgets
Simplicity is usually key for an always-on display, but Apple’s lock screen widgets are a good way to spice things up. It’s easy to add little indicators, almost like complications on an Apple Watch face. You can add as many or as few as you want — I usually stick to the weather when I need it. Here’s how to add widgets:
- Long-press on your lock screen.
- Tap Customize at the bottom.
- Select the Lock Screen.
- Choose Add Widgets.
Make it darker
If you’re like us, you might think Apple’s always-on display is just too “on.” Thankfully, there’s a way to make it a bit more subtle through the Focus feature. Focus mode on the iPhone 14 Pro is designed to keep you in the zone while working or sleeping, and it includes Do Not Disturb mode, too. Here’s how to make your always-on display darker:
- Open the Settings app.
- Select Focus in the menu.
- Choose which Focus category to set up — we chose Do Not Disturb.
- Tap on the Options button.
- Toggle Dim Lock Screen to on.
How to turn off the iPhone 14 Pro always-on display
Maybe a dim lock screen still isn’t enough for you. In that case, you can turn off the always-on display altogether. This is just about as easy as setting up the Focus feature, just follow these steps:
- Open the Settings app.
- Choose the Display & Brightness option.
- Scroll down to Always On and toggle it to off.
Right now, the always-on display is exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
Yes, you can manage it through the Display section of the Settings app.
Yes, but the impact is slight. The refresh rate and brightness are low but not zero, so you may see around 5% drain over a day.
No, because the wallpaper is slightly repositioned over time to prevent burn-in.
You can mess with the auto-lock settings to make the iPhone screen stay on longer, but pre-14 series iPhones do not have always-on displays.