The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max have some flashy software changes, such as the Dynamic Island system for showing alerts and the much-anticipated always-on display. The latter feature is not exactly new. For years, Android devices have had an always-on display that shows essential information when the screen is off. What you see is a black screen with the time and date and sometimes notification icons. But the iPhone version has its own Apple twist.
The 14 Pro’s always-on display shows the time and date (along with widgets) against a blacked-out version of a background photo instead of a black screen. I’ve had the iPhone 14 Pro for almost three months, and it took about half that time to get used to the always-on display because it felt like my phone was unlocked. While Apple deserves credit for finding a way to make the always-on display look almost identical to the regular lock screen, there is a problem. Some of us want an always-on display that’s more discreet and unobtrusive.
Fortunately for us, iOS 16.2 has the answer. iOS 16.2 beta, Apple’s next iPhone software update, now includes controls to turn off the wallpaper when Always-On Display is active. This means you can finally get a black background for your iPhone’s always-on display without changing your lock screen photo.
If you want to try it, go to Settingstap Display and brightness and choose Always on display. From there, you’ll see options to show wallpaper or notifications. Disabling Show wallpaper provides an always-on black display.
In our tests, using the iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display didn’t shorten battery life. But some people have had the opposite experience. For those who have had battery life issues, hopefully replacing the lock screen with a solid black background will fix those issues. I should also add that, overall, our tests revealed that the iPhone 14 series has a shorter battery life than the iPhone 13 series.
The iOS 16.2 update is currently in beta, and the final version is likely to be available in December, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in a newsletter. If you want to try the public beta, read our iOS 16.2 beta guide for the process.