Apple acknowledges iPhone X OLED burn-in & off-angle color shift

While most reviewers praised the Samsung-manufacured organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel utilized by iPhone X, some people have noted that Apple’s new Super Retina display suffers from mild color shift in off-axis viewing, which is inherent to OLED technology.

According to Apple, the Super Retina display found on iPhone X takes advantage of advancements over traditional OLED displays to enable an incredible viewing experience, “for the first time rising to the standards of iPhone.”

OLED technology delivers an incredibly high contrast ratio and high resolution. And with no backlight, OLED emits light through each pixel, allowing for a thinner display. The Super Retina display overcomes challenges with traditional OLED displays with its high brightness, wide color support and has the best color accuracy in the industry.

In a support document titled “About the Super Retina display on your iPhone X,” the company explains that you might notice “slight shifts in color and hue” when looking at your iPhone X’s display off-angle.

“This is a characteristic of OLED and is normal behavior,” reads the document.

The document goes on to note that “with extended long-term use,” OLED displays can also show “slight visual changes” such as image persistence or burn-in where the display shows a faint remnant of an image even after a new image appears on the screen.

This can occur in “more extreme cases” such as when the same high contrast image is continuously displayed for prolonged periods of time. It is true that cumulative non-uniform usage of the pixels on any OLED panel can over time lead to unwanted effects such as temporary or permanent discoloration.

“This is also expected behavior,” notes the firm.

It will be interesting seeing if Apple’s standard 1-year warranty will cover the effects of the OLED burn-in. With out-of-warranty iPhone X screen replacement costing as much as $279 ($549 for any other damage), it may be a good idea to consider AppleCare+ for iPhone X.

Priced at $199, the AppleCare+ insurance extends your standard one-year warranty coverage for manufacturing defects and battery life issues to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone X while including two incidents of accidental damage coverage that can be used for screen repair ($29) or other damage ($99).

The amount of ghosting depends on the quality of the OLED panel. For instance, Google’s Pixel 2 XL uses an LG-made POLED panel that is seemingly of such low quality that people began complaining about the burn-in issue after just a few days of use. No such issues were reported by owners of the smaller Pixel 2 model, which uses AMOLEDs from Samsung.

Screen ghosting on Google Pixel 2 XL

Apple sources OLED panels for iPhone X exclusively from Samsung Display.

The support document says Apple has engineered the Super Retina display to be the best in the industry in reducing the effects of OLED burn-in, but stopped short of giving specifics.

To minimize the effects of long-term use and extend the viewing life of the Super Retina display, iOS 11 hides the Auto-Brightness setting deep inside the Accessibility section where ordinary users are less likely to stumble upon and accidentally toggle off this setting.

The support document offers the following piece of advice:

Avoid displaying static images at maximum brightness for long periods of time. If you have an app that keeps your display on when you aren’t actively using your iPhone X, you can temporarily reduce the brightness level using Control Center.

Recently discovered code strings indicate that iOS 11 may include a software feature designed to prevent the OLED burn-in. Other manufacturers like Samsung have tackled this issue by subtly shifting the whole user interface or static content that is visible on the display for a long time without any variation in brightness or hue.

Color shifting is also a real issue.

However, early iPhone X reviews have noted that shifting only occurs if you share your phone’s screen or use it at odd angles. TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino didn’t think of it is problematic.

“On some phones, OLEDs go super blue,” he wrote in his iPhone X review.

“On the iPhone X it’s more of a slight blue shift with a reduction in saturation and dynamic range. It’s not terrible, but it definitely exists.”

Apple told TechCrunch it’s done work to counter the drop-in saturation and shift to blue. Again, this affects OLED screens traditionally.

“Compared to other OLED screens, you have to get further ‘off of center’ to see a real shift in color, holding the phone 30 degrees or more off of dead on,” Panzarino added.

“But it is still there.”

We also know that the iPhone X display uses PenTile pixel arrangement.

The Super Retina display on iPhone X has a 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio, high brightness (625 cd/m2), a cinema-standard wide color gamut (Display P3 color space). It is also Apple’s very first mobile display capable of natively rendering high dynamic range (HDR) video in Dolby Vision or HDR10 with brighter reds and greens and a broad range of dark and light areas.

“This allows you to see from deep true blacks to pure bright whites while retaining dramatic nuances in between,” notes the firm. “We believe this is the best OLED display that has ever shipped in a smartphone while offering the best color accuracy in the industry,” Apple added.

How concerned are you about the long-term effects of the OLED burn-in?

Post your observations to the comments section down below.