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iPhone Burn-in (Do iPhones Burn-in? How to Prevent Burn-in?)

As an owner of an iPhone, I know all too well the frustration of trying to keep the device looking good and functioning properly. Recently, I have been hearing a lot about a phenomenon called “burn-in” which affects iPhones. This made me curious, so I decided to do some research and testing to learn more. I am now here to share what I have discovered, including how I solved the issue and what other solutions are available to prevent burn-in on iPhones.

Burn-ins are ghost imprints of static images or elements long after they had been used due to image retention on the pixels. Newer models of iPhones that use OLED screens are vulnerable to the effects of burn-in through prolonged exposure.

While the burn-in takes some time to develop, it’s safer for you to take active preventive measures. So, what is iPhone burn-in, what causes it, and how can it be prevented? Keep reading to find out!

Why iPhone Burn-in OccursPrevention MethodsPotential Fixes
OLED screen technologyKeep brightness downUse burn-in fixer apps
Pixels burn out over timeUse screen saversWatch screen burn fixer videos
Static images persistEnable auto lock-offReplace the screen (if burn-in is severe)
Use dark mode and apps with darker backgrounds when possibleCheck warranty for screen replacement

Why Do iPhone Screen Burn-ins Happen?

A crucial detail to know is that burn-in is often used as a catch-all term for any screen discoloration or ghost imaging.

Technically, “burn-in” is a permanent problem caused by the degradation of your device’s hardware over a very long time and can’t be truly fixed. Meanwhile, image retention is a simple case of pixels being overused for a time, but it can still be mitigated with some simple solutions.

As it happens, devices with OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) screens are the most susceptible to burn-in, whether they’re TV displays or mobile screens.

The technology behind OLED screens uses tiny pixels, each of which has its own light, slowly burning out as they are used. So, if a particular image or element remains fixed on a screen for a long period, the pixels will struggle to shift colors when you use it again.

How does this all relate to your phone?

Well, the Super Retina and Super Retina XDR display on iPhone X and newer use OLED technology. That’s why your phone might be at risk; your screen will still technically work, but there will be bad spots here and there.

How to Prevent iPhone Burn-in?

Of course, it would be better to take steps to prevent burn-in in the first place instead of dealing with expensive repairs.

Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you protect your iPhone’s OLED screen from image retention:

  1. Keep Your Brightness Down

The more light that the display pixels constantly emit, the faster they’ll burn out.

So, if you don’t actually need a very bright screen to be able to see it properly, keep the brightness level to a minimum.

You can even opt to use dark mode on your apps whenever it’s available. After all, using dark colors instead of white helps reduce the amount of work your screen has to do.

  1. Use Screen Savers

Just as their name suggests, screen savers will help save your screen by mitigating the effects of burn-in.

With changing pictures or animated screen savers, you can constantly switch the colors that the pixels are using to reduce the possibility of afterimages.

  1. Enable Auto Lock-Off

By enabling your device to automatically turn the screen off when you’re not using it, you’re reducing the pixels’ workload. This sounds like such a simple fix, but it works towards combating burn-in.

Here’s how you can set how long your iPhone will take before it locks:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Display and Brightness
  3. Tap Auto-Lock
  4. Choose a length of time (30 seconds is usually a good place to start)
  5. Install and Use a Burn-in Fixer App

Burn-in fixer apps, such as Doctor OLED X, mainly attempt to correct image retention by cycling the screen through various colors and levels of brightness. This resets the pixels, ensuring they’re not “stuck” in one color. 

These apps can also test to see whether you have burn-in or just image retention, but they’re not effective for actual burn-in, as it’s a hardware problem.

In this case, the “fixer” apps are only a stopgap measure to keep your screen somewhat manageable before you replace it eventually.

  1. Use Screen Burn Fixer Videos

Some people might hate the idea of downloading specific apps or using screen savers all the time.

In cases like this, it’s possible to just play a screen burn fixer video on YouTube whenever you need to. As you might have guessed, these videos display shifting images of different hues in order to force pixels to switch colors.

Can You Fix an iPhone Burn-in?

Burn-in is a hardware issue and thus can’t be definitively fixed short of outright replacing your screen.

Before you decide to buy a new screen, make sure to check on your iPhone’s warranty to see if screen replacement is covered under it.

The Takeaway

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iPhone burn-in is devastating, and it happens when the pixels are forced to display static images over long periods. Sadly, once burn-in happens, it’s irreversible.

However, you can reduce the risk by letting the screen rest whenever you aren’t actively using it, as well as refraining from using static elements in the long term.

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