Always On Display on Android: what it is and how you can activate it on any Android mobile

Normally when the mobile is “resting”, the screen remains off, but it is increasingly common for Android phones to include Always On Display or AOD, which keeps the screen on showing basic information, such as the time.We tell you today what is this Always On Display mode available on some Android phones, what is good – and what is bad – and how you can have it on your mobile, with several methods that should work for the vast majority of mobiles.

Always On Display is a system by which the mobile screen is always on, showing basic information such as time, date and notifications. When the mobile goes to “sleep”, instead of turning off the screen, it becomes a kind of clock. This feature was already available in 2010 on Nokia mobiles with Symbian.The Always On Display mode takes advantage of a peculiarity of OLED screens that allows energy use to be reduced despite keeping the screen on. It’s the same principle that saves battery life in dark mode : black pixels are turned off completely. LCD panels maintain the backlight regardless of the pixel color, so these black pixels continue to consume power.

Under this premise, the Always On mode usually uses minimalist elements to display the time and various information without “turning on” too many pixels. Commonly in black and white, although color was not long in coming to AOD displays. The energy consumption is low, but it is still there, for that reason, some mobiles allow you to configure the AOD mode to activate at certain times, when a notification arrives or when you pick up the mobile.

How to activate AOD mode

The bad news is that the Always On Display is not a standard Android feature and is therefore not available on all mobiles. This is understandable, since mobile phones with an LCD screen will consume excessive battery power by keeping the screen always on.The good news is that there are several ways to have the Always On Display mode on your mobile, whether the mobile includes the option or not. It is even possible to use it, at your own risk and expense, on a mobile phone with an LCD screen.

From mobile settings

If you want to activate the Always On Display mode of a mobile, the best thing can happen is that the mobile includes the function. It is now quite common in most customization layers, in mobile phones with OLED or AMOLED screens, although the setting can change its name and location in the settings.In Samsung mobiles, the Always On settings are found in the Lock Screen, while in OxygenOS they are in the Screen settings, under the name Ambient Screen. Generally, the setting is either on Screen or on Lock, but if you can’t find it, it is best to use the search engine at the top of the settings.

From here you can usually choose if you want it to be active always or under certain conditions (at a certain time, when picking up the phone …)

Be careful, because sometimes the customization of the Always On mode can be in another menu. That is, the section where you choose the design of the clock and the rest of the elements that are shown in the Always On mode. In store mobiles such as Samsung mobiles, you can download more designs from it. In others, the options can be found in the Personalization section .

Google Assistant’s ambient mode

Always on display  with Google assistant ambient mode
Always on display with Google assistant ambient mode

Your mobile doesn’t have Always On mode out of the box? In this case, you still have a way to have something similar without having to install anything else: with the Google Assistant’s ambient mode, a novelty that has gone somewhat unnoticed despite having been with us for a couple of years.

On compatible mobiles, entering the Google application settings> Assistant> Ambient mode, you can activate ambient mode, which keeps the screen on with information such as time, notifications and charging progress, and can even serve as digital photo frame with your photos from Google Photos. The big downside is that it only activates when the mobile is charging .

With apps

If none of the above solves the ballot, you will always have third-party applications. You will find in Google Play a good collection of applications to simulate the Always On screen, ideally with OLED screens, although nothing prevents you from using them on any mobile.Generally, the power consumption of the Always On mode of the mobile will be better optimized than that of third-party applications, so this option is more recommended when none of the above has worked.

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