How to fix screen burn on your iOS or Android device

Screen burn-in, a term derived from ancient CRT (cathode ray tube) technology, and the reason for the large decorative screen protector industry, describes the phenomenon of image retention, also known as persistence, ghosting, blurring, artifacts, or residual images that remain on your smartphone’s screen after the original image is gone. These can degrade screen readability and color over time and can detract from your smartphone experience.

On mobile devices, screen burn-in is most commonly seen on AMOLED or OLED screens, and even then it’s pretty rare on newer smartphones. This happens when users leave an image on the screen for too long, causing the pixels to have trouble changing to another color. This can happen most easily with blue colors, but it can happen with any image that’s on screen for too long, especially on the brightest setting. Screen burn-in can also be permanent and be considered a display hardware failure rather than a problem with the display driver or software graphics. For screen recording on your mobile devices, there are a few things you can do to fix the problem and better yet prevent it from happening. Here are some simple steps you can take.

turn off the device

Ryabukha Bazaar / 123RF

This is the simplest and often effective solution, especially when you catch image retention early and want to fix it quickly. Power off the phone completely, turn it off completely and let it sit for a few hours. If the screen burn-in issue is minor, this gives the pixels enough time to recover, which reduces afterimages, so your phone’s screen will look new when you turn it back on. This is one of the advantages of the versatile organic pixel layer used in OLED-based displays, which can more easily self-correct than pixels of the past.

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Get a corrective application

Burned screen repair video

If turning off your mobile device for a while doesn’t completely solve your problem, a good option to try is to retrain the pixels on your screen to bring them back into balance. The good news is that there are apps for that. For Android devices, the Google Play Store has a rich collection of screen checkers and testers, including OLED Saver. If you have an iOS device, you can use an app like Doctor OLED X. This app toggles your pixels through multiple colors and brightness levels, working to reset them.

If you don’t want to download the app, you can try visiting the ScreenBurnFixer website. Contains a collection of videos with color slides and frame patterns designed to help you get your pixels back. Run a few of these and see if they fix your pixel problem.

change your settings

WhatsApp dark mode on Android

WhatsApp dark mode on Android

You can be proactive in avoiding or mitigating screen burn-in on your mobile hardware by changing various settings that you may not have known would help. Be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Lower brightness settings: The higher the brightness setting, the more the OLED pixels have to work, which can cause screen burn-in. If your mobile device is constantly set to a higher brightness, please change it to auto brightness or a lower brightness level to avoid problems. For iOS 14, go to Settings > Display & Brightness and turn on the Automatic setting. Options, True Tone, and Night Shift settings also help modulate excessive brightness and prevent burn-in. On Android, go to Settings > Display > Brightness slider or turn on Automatic to adjust the brightness automatically.
  • Set lock screen and sleep timers: Smartphones come equipped with auto lock and sleep timers, which turn the screen off after a period of inactivity. Make sure those settings are turned on and set in a minute or so. If you haven’t looked at your phone for a minute, it’s probably okay for you to turn the screen off and lock itself. This basically prevents image retention because the screen won’t stay on long enough for this to happen. For iOS 14, go to Settings > Display & brightness > Auto lock and select the desired time interval. On Android 10, go to Settings > Display > Screen timeout and select the interval you want.
  • Get rid of menu, status and navigation bars: Image retention can occur when you are actively using an application that has a persistent toolbar or notification bar, such as when you are playing a game or watching a movie. When these bars do not disappear, they cause screen burn-in after long sessions. Look for options to hide these icons and tools after a while so they are not always present. Immersive modes for your mobile operating system will also do this.
  • Enable dark mode: While not a guarantee against image retention, using dark mode on your mobile device can help reduce risk, especially when it comes to excessive use of brightness levels. You can also try choosing dark keyboard skins. Enable dark mode in iOS 14 using Settings > Display & Brightness > Dark or use the Options feature to set a timer. On Android, go to Settings > Display > Night mode or Comfort view, or set a schedule for any feature.
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LCD Screenshot

Screen burn-in can also become a problem on mobile phone LCD screens. Although this may be a rare occurrence, it is not impossible. When it does, fixing it is a much bigger challenge, because LCD pixels work differently than OLED screens. So you may have to accept that the burn-in on your LCD screen will probably remain. But before you give up all hope, you should still try using the LCD Burn-In Wiper, which changes colors similar to its OLED counterpart to try to fix the pixels.

Your last resort after failing to fix the burnt screen with the methods mentioned above would be to check if your device is under warranty so that you can turn off the screen or have it fixed by a professional.

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