Android 15 can make using your phone in bed even easier – Android Authority

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Android 15 can make using your phone in bed even easier – Android Authority

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Android 15 could introduce an “even dimmer” display option that allows the screen brightness to become dimmer than normal.
  • The minimum brightness level of your phone’s screen may not be low enough for comfortable use at night.
  • Android already offers an “extra dim” feature that reduces bright colors, thereby dimming the display, but this goes even further.

Even though we know it’s bad for our eyes, many of us use our phones at night in bed. While Android doesn’t stop you from looking at your phone too much, it does offer several display features to help reduce eye strain. These include, among other features, a built-in blue light filter and adaptive brightness support. However, not all phone screens can be dark enough to be used comfortably at night, which is what a new feature in the upcoming Android 15 update called “even dimmer” could solve.

Adaptive brightness, for those who don’t know, uses your device’s ambient light sensor to measure the light intensity of your surroundings. The feature then automatically adjusts the brightness level of your device’s screen based on the ambient light level. However, many different billboards are used, each with their own specifications. Higher-end panels support a wider range of brightness levels, while lower-end panels support a lower range. Additionally, the mapping between ambient light levels and screen brightness is device dependent, so the brightness level to which one phone adaptively adjusts may differ from the level of another.

In summary, some phones can get dark enough to be used comfortably in low-light conditions, while others can’t, at least not automatically. To account for this disparity, Android 12 introduced a feature located under Settings > Accessibility named “extra dim” which “dim[s] [the] screen beyond the minimum brightness of your phone.

Android 15 brightness settings

Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority

Under the hood, this feature is also called “vivid color reduction” because it involves applying a transformation matrix to the red, green, and blue pixel data that Android is configured to render. The purpose of this transformation is to reduce the intensity of the bright colors displayed on the screen, thereby dimming the display. “Extra dim” is intended to be a feature that improves accessibility, which is why it is under the accessibility settings. It’s also meant to be activated when needed, hence the presence of a quick settings tile as well as an accessibility shortcut.

In contrast, Android 15’s new “even weaker” feature is likely intended to be kept rather than enabled as needed. The new “even weaker” feature, which is currently not yet visible in Android 15 Beta 1 but will appear under Settings > Display below the “adaptive brightness” setting, “allow[s] [the] the device becomes darker than usual.

Coded

<string name="even_dimmer_display_summary">Allow device to go dimmer than usual</string>
<string name="even_dimmer_display_title">Even dimmer</string>

In AOSP, the description of the flag controlling this feature states that it is “to extend the brightness below [the] traditional range.

even darker flag

Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority

After speaking with a mobile display analyst Dylan Raga, we believe that Android 15’s “even dimmer” feature is intended to allow the existing adaptive brightness feature to automatically reduce the screen brightness even more than usual when ambient lighting levels are really low, very weak. This would prevent you from needing to manually enable the “very dim” function at night if you want to reduce the screen brightness.

Letting the adaptive brightness become even dimmer than usual would be more convenient than manually enabling additional brightness. This is because “extra dim” must be turned on and off manually to have an effect. So, if you turn it on at night to reduce the brightness, remember to turn it off afterwards, otherwise the screen might be too dark during the day. Tying the “even dimmer” feature to adaptive brightness would mean it would take ambient lighting into account, which is a feature that “extra dim” is not capable of at the moment.

Since the “even weaker” feature is not yet available in Android 15 Beta 1, we don’t know for sure if this is how it will work. Our interpretation is based on code analysis, which could be wrong. Hopefully our understanding of the “even weaker” feature is correct, because this seems like a fantastic display feature that Google should include in the next release.

Do you have any advice? Talk to us! Email our staff at [email protected]. You can remain anonymous or get credit for the information, it’s your choice.



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