OLED screen burn-in: What you need to know in 2021

OLED TV and phone screens are susceptible to permanent damage called “burn-in,” but most users don’t have anything to worry about. Here are the facts.

From phones to TVs, if you want the best image quality, OLED is the way to go. OLED TVs from LG and Sony are regularly on our list of best TVs. High-end phones from Google, Samsung and Apple have OLED screens and look great. Even some laptops, tablets and the latest Nintendo Switch have OLED screens. Those lovely images and excellent contrast ratio come with a potential problem: burn-in. Burn-in is when part of an image — navigation buttons on a phone, for example, or a channel logo, news ticker or a scoreboard on a TV — persists as a ghostly background no matter what else appears onscreen. 

Burn-in is a possibility with OLED. Apple’s support page for the OLED-screen iPhones touts that they’ve been designed to reduce the effects of OLED burn-in, even as it acknowledges that it can occur in “extreme cases.” Google’s Pixel phone support page says burn-in can happen “when the same image stays on your screen for a long time at a high brightness” and recommends steps to reduce it. 

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