Managing PWM on OLED iPhone & iPad Displays
Some iPhone and iPad users are sensitive to PWM flickering on the latest devices OLED displays. PWM, which stands for Pulse Width Modulation, can cause some users to have eye strain, feel nauseous or dizzy, or have headaches from the screen flickering when using an OLED screen device with PWM.
All new model iPhone and iPad devices with OLED displays have PWM, including the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone X, and iPad Pro 12.9″ M1. The remaining iPhone models that use LCD displays do not have this issue (at least to an extent that bothers users anyway), which includes the iPhone 11, iPhone SE iPhone XR, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 8 and older.
While the majority of people do not have any issues with OLED PWM, if you are bothered by OLED PWM, it’s fairly obvious. Assuming you fall into that unfortunate latter category, this workaround may help.
Workaround for Managing OLED PWM
- Open Settings on the OLED iPhone / iPad, and head to ‘Display & Brightness’
- Set the Brightness level to 90% or higher
- Next go to ‘Accessibility’ settings, and go to ‘Display & Text Size’
- Enable ‘Reduce White Point’ and adjust the slider to a suitable screen brightness level
If you’re lucky, you may notice a difference immediately.
The theory behind this approach is that at higher brightness levels, PWM screen flickering should be reduced on the OLED. Thus, using a higher brightness setting can help to reduce the ill effects.
This does not work for everyone however, so don’t expect a miracle if you’re particularly sensitive to PWM on OLED displays.
As someone who is sensitive to PWM on OLED displays, the eyestrain and dizziness is annoying enough that it makes using the newest model OLED iPhones impossible. Thus my primary iPhone is the last generation iPhone with an LCD display, which is the base model iPhone 11.
Given this can be a pretty serious accessibility issue for some users, hopefully an official solution for those sensitive to PWM will become available. For the meantime, try out the workaround above, or consider using devices with an LCD display, which tend to use a much higher refresh rate and thus no noticeable screen flickering.
If you’ve never heard of PWM and want a more thorough understanding of what it is and why it’s unique on OLED, check out this article on oled-info.com on PWM.
Do you have issues with PWM on OLED screens? Does using an OLED iPhone or iPad bother your eyes? Did the workaround discussed here help? Did you find another solution or workaround? Share your experiences with PWM in the comments!