How to Disable the Always On Display of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Pixel 2 Always On Display

Both the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 ship with a feature called an always on display but today I want to show you how to turn this feature off.

Last year with the Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 we started to see a new feature become popular within the Android market. Always on displays are something that had only previously been possible thanks to 3rd-party applications and modifications but they were now being added to the stock OEM firmware of new devices. This allows the phone to provide information to the user at all times (including time, date, notifications, etc.) and the impact on the battery was minimal if the device used an OLED panel.

Since the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL both having a screen that uses OLED technology, the battery usage while the Always On Display feature is rather minimal. We’re talking like 5-15 minutes of less screen on time per day by having the feature enabled. However, there is also the worry of burn in since there are pixels being lit up at all times. This isn’t something that can be stopped entirely, but just like with battery drain it can be minimized.

Google does this by reducing the brightness to a very low level and by also shifting the content on the display. You likely won’t be able to see the shifts unless you’re staring at it for a long time, but it’s easier to spot with another camera and by speeding up the video playback. This is a technique that Google has been using with Android Wear for a while now and it has been rather effective. Again though, it doesn’t eliminate it entirely so it’s something you should be aware of.

With that said, let me show you how to disable the always on display feature of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (also referred to as Ambient Display).

Pixel 2 Always On Display

  1. Launch the Settings application
  2. Tap on the Display option
  3. Tap the Advanced drop down option
  4. Tap on the Ambient Display option
  5. Then tap the Always On toggle to turn it off

This step by step tutorial is a detailed explanation of a topic I covered on my Pixel 2 Tips and Tricks article. I recommend you read through that if you're curious about learning the ins and outs of the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL.


 


 

Explanation

So along with the battery life and pixel burn in issues that I mentioned before, there can be other reasons why you may want to turn this feature off. Personally, I don’t like to have the display of a phone on when I have it sitting on the desk. At least when I’m working, having the numbers change and notification icons going in and out cause me to get distracted. This isn’t the case for everyone though as many put their phone in a dock and use it to keep updated as the day progresses.

I just wanted to explain why Google implemented the feature into Android for the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. Then go over the impact it can have on your device so you can understand why someone would want to turn it off. So to start, we can turn off the Pixel 2 Always On Display feature by launching the settings application and then tapping on the Display option. There are a number of display related features here but most of them are hidden by default.

Pixel 2 Always On Display Toggle

Simply tapping this option will disable the Pixel 2 Always On Display feature.

So you’ll need to tap on the Advanced option as it acts like a drop down menu to reveal additional features. With the Advanced panel expanded, we can scroll down all the way to the bottom and look for the Ambient Display option. This is what Google is calling its always on display feature so tapping on this will take you to a page where there are a number of options for us to choose from. The very top toggle listed here lets us turn the Pixel 2 Always On display either on or off.

There are some other features listed here and I’ll go over them in future tutorials. One that I wanted to point out though is the New Notifications toggle. When enabled, the screen will wake up each and every time you receive a new notification. This can be something that is quickly annoying if you receive a ton of notifications throughout the day. However, it can be very useful (especially for work) if you have the phone setup so only the important notifications come through.

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About the author

Doug

I'm working to create an organized and easy to follow central repository of Android tips, tutorials, guides and everything you need to know. With a focus on device specific tutorials now, my goal is to branch out and do more universal tips and tricks that will work on all Android devices.