OLED screens are known for two things: their excellent image quality with very high contrast levels, which can be enjoyed on a TV, PC monitor, smartphone, tablet or even a portable console. But they are also well known for burn-in , which is nothing more than a burnt-out screen.

Fortunately, technology has advanced enough in recent years to make burn-in increasingly rare, but it is still possible for it to happen. Here's what to do to avoid damaging your screens.

But what is the burn-in of OLED screens anyway?

Burn-in can occur when the screen displays a static image for a long time. OLED screens can leave a ghost image, due to the way they work. In fact, each pixel on the screen is illuminated individually and not by zone as in LED panels. This means that each OLED pixel can turn on, off and change color depending on what it needs to display. It is thanks to this that the panel can offer very deep blacks and such impressive levels of contrast, but it also means that each pixel can be damaged or overloaded, which ends up changing the pixels.

The main culprits of burn-in are interface elements in video games, applications and even the menus of streaming services , as well as static TV channel icons or screensavers, which can remain displayed for long hours.

There is little risk of noticing a burn with "normal" use. An image must remain displayed for hundreds, or even thousands, of hours to really damage a screen. And that's less likely to happen on a recent OLED display, with technologies implemented to precisely combat this.

That said, it is possible to notice a slight distortion, or discoloration, after just a few dozen hours, even on a very recent panel. And once there, it's impossible to make it disappear. You can often see it on display models in stores, which display the same images throughout the day.

burn-in

How to prevent burn-in?

In fact, there are several points to follow to avoid this situation on your OLED screen.

Vary what you do on screen

It's the most obvious. Change what is displayed on the screen regularly to avoid displaying static images for a long time. If you are always with the screen on in Spotify (this is just an example) leave the application and go to another application, or simply leave it running in the background, and go to any other application, preferably with a full screen image in movement.

adjust brightness

Varying what displays on screen helps ensure nothing stays on for too long, but brightness also has a role to play in burn-in. This happens faster on very bright screens. Decreasing and activating automatic brightness, as well as automatic sleep mode after a few minutes of inactivity, can minimize the risks.

And there is no need to go to extremes. Try to stay in the 70-80% brightness range. The same goes for auto dimming and auto standby or shutdown mode. No need to set this every 10 or 30 seconds, 10 to 30 minutes is more than enough. The objective here is to ensure that the screen does not show the same at maximum brightness for a long time.

Use dark mode and similar settings

Some devices have very interesting parameters. Enabling dark mode for your operating system, and applications, is especially useful for OLED screens, pixels will be turned off completely to black. There's also "Extra-dim" mode on Android 12 and "Reduce White Point" option or anything related to brightness in iOS Accessibility Settings.

There is no need to implement all these measures at once to avoid screen burn-in, but the more you have, the less chance you have of permanently damaging your screen.