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iPhone 14 Pro always-on display improves hugely in iOS 16.2 beta

Apple looks set to give iPhone 14 Pro owners the ability to customise the device’s always-on display for a more minimalistic experience.

The latest iOS 16.2 beta enables users to disable notifications and the wallpaper to leave only the time and the Lock Screen widgets iPhone users have selected.

The change, which is by no means guaranteed to make it into the final version of iOS 16.2, makes Apple’s solution a little more akin to the Android options that have been around for years.

Prior to the launch of the variable refresh rate displays (which can now offer always-on displays without crippling battery life), Android phones with OLED displays would just light the few pixels needed to display the time and a few notification icons.

The change in beta 3 comes after complaints from some iPhone 14 Pro owners that the always-on display was “too on” because it showed a dimmed version of the wallpaper and allowed notifications to come through. It wouldn’t drain the battery too much because the ProMotion display can get as low as 1Hz when the mode is switched on. While that’s handy, it’s not entirely what you want if you’re looking for your phone to blend in to the background while still telling you the time.

9to5Mac has played with the new beta and found the option within the iPhone 14 Settings app, which includes two new options for “show wallpaper” and “show notifications feature,” enabling both to be toggled off.

The result is a black iPhone 14 Pro display that only displays the time and widgets. For some, that’ll be a major improvement on the initial implementation. The shortcoming was something our own Max Parker pointed out in his review of the iPhone 14 Pro. As a result of the chosen Lock Screen being consistently represented, there’s no alternative.

He writes: “You can’t, for example, only have the clock showing unless you set a plain black wallpaper. You also can’t alter the brightness, meaning that at times I felt the always-on screen was a little too bright and distracting. In this respect, it can feel restrictive.”

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