Why Is My Phone Screen So Dark? Answered!

Have you ever gone to look at your phone and thought, “Huh, my screen looks really dark?” Like, it is way darker than normal. I had that happen to me recently on my – admittedly dated – iPhone 7. I knew I hadn’t tinkered with the brightness settings because I prefer my screen to be slightly brighter than the default setting.

So, how did my phone’s screen come to look so dark? Was it just a trick of the eye? Had something caused the brightness settings to go haywire? I tried to think of what could have caused this problem, but I quite frankly wasn’t sure what had happened. Therefore, I took to Google and did some research.

Why Is My Phone Screen So Dark 1 Why Is My Phone Screen So Dark? Answered!

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Why Is My Phone Screen So Dark?

Your phone screen could be dark if accidentally switched to an automatic brightness setting. It is actually normal for an iPhone to switch brightness levels based on ambient lighting. If you are in direct sunlight, the phone will make the brightness level higher so that it is easier for you to see; it will darken to a more minimal brightness level when you are in low-level lighting.

What I found is that your screen might be put onto a setting that automatically adjusts the brightness. Luckily, you can go into your phone’s settings and manually adjust the brightness level to something that is easier for your eyes to take in. 

Accessibility settings are something you might need to check as well. If worse comes to worse, you might need to reset your phone back to its default factory settings and go from there. But that’s a worst case scenario type of deal, so we will go through the simpler methods first.

Is it normal for my screen to go dark or change its own brightness?

You might be surprised to learn this, but it is actually normal for your phone to automatically adjust its own brightness levels. 

Why Is My Phone Screen So Dark 1 1 Why Is My Phone Screen So Dark? Answered!

iPhones and other smartphones are now built with ambient light sensors that power an auto-brightness feature.

Let’s say you walk into the bright sunshine. Your phone’s sensors will detect this and automatically brighten the screen so it doesn’t get washed out in the sunlight. 

Now, it is after dark, and you are in your modestly lit living room, watching a movie. Your phone screen should have automatically adjusted to a dimmer brightness level.

Of course, there are times when auto brightness doesn’t work as expected, and it might just be the culprit.

How do I make my phone screen brighter?

Let’s now look at a few troubleshooting techniques you can use to brighten up your phone screen and get auto-brightness properly working.

Wipe the Top of Your Phone

Start by wiping down the top of your phone screen, as this is where the ambient light sensors are located. That part of the phone gets a lot of oily residue on it after you’ve been holding it up to your ear for a long phone call. With all that grime on there, your phone’s sensors will automatically go down.

Take a clean, lint-free cloth and wipe down the top part of your phone. You might also want to try taking your phone’s seal-proof case off and seeing if that improves your phone’s brightness level.

Check and Manually Adjust the Brightness Level

If that doesn’t work, you will need to check and manually adjust the phone’s brightness level. Here are a few ways that you can do this:

Via the Control Center

  1. Open up Control Center.
  2. If you’re on an iPhone with Face ID, swipe down starting from the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  3. On an iPhone with the Home button, swipe up from the screen’s bottom corner.
  4. Drag the brightness slider up higher.

Using the Settings app

  1. Go into iPhone Settings > Display & Brightness.
  2. Drag the brightness slider over to the right.

Via Siri

  1. Call on Siri.
  2. Turn the screen brightness up.
  3. Boost the screen’s brightness.
  4. Set the screen’s brightness to 75%.
  5. Set the screen’s brightness to maximum.

Restart Your Phone

With regular day-in, day-out use, your phone might start to glitch for a little bit. Try turning your iPhone off, wait a minute, then turn it back on to see if that helps.

Check Accessibility Settings

Next, you might want to look at your phone’s accessibility settings. When Reduce White Point is enabled, it reduces the screen’s bright color intensity. It will make your iPhone screen turn dark even when you have the brightness cranked up to max.

To turn it off, you’ll need to:

  1. Open your Settings app, then tap on Accessibility.
  2. Tap Display & Text Size.
  3. Turn Reduce White Point off.

Note: You can also drag the slider to the left at 25% and still keep the feature enabled.

Turn Low Power Mode Off

Your phone’s battery will consume more energy the higher you set the screen brightness.

The iPhone will minutely decrease the brightness to preserve the battery in Low Power Mode. You can restore screen brightness by calling Siri and asking her to turn Low Power Mode off or go into Settings > Battery > turn off Low Power Mode.

Media Apps and Screen Brightness

Video player and editing apps often have their own screen brightness slider. Some also come with an invisible screen brightness slider that you can use when playing a video. An accidental swipe down on the screen when engaged might cause the screen to darken.

You’ll want to search for a brightness slider or button inside the app and slide it to a desirable level. Don’t see one? Swipe either vertically or horizontally on the screen to see if you can reveal a slider.

Turn Off Do Not Disturb

This is for those using iOS 15. Whenever your iPhone is in Do Not Disturb (DND) mode, its Lock Screen will be markedly dimmed. To brighten it up, tap the moon icon > Do Not Disturb. That’ll turn it off.

Turn Off Auto Brightness

Disabling auto-brightness can be quite helpful, but that feature can come in handy in a lot of situations and not drain your battery as quickly. You can turn off auto brightness if you want, though, and here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your Settings app; tap Accessibility.
  2. Tap Display & Text Size.
  3. Turn off the switch for Auto-Brightness at the bottom.
  4. Open the Control Center, then set the brightness.

Turn Off Screen Zoom

Screen Zoom zooms the whole iPhone display, so then your screen’s brightness might change. Fix this by un-zooming your screen or by turning it off from Settings > Accessibility > Zoom.

Reset Your Phone

You might need to reset to default factory settings if nothing else works. Make a backup before you do this and store it on iCloud. Here’s how to reset:

If you’re on iOS 15, you need to: Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset. Then, select from Reset All Settings.

When to Contact Support

If you’ve tried a reset and that doesn’t work, you should contact Apple Support. If your phone is still under warranty, you might qualify for a replacement. A technician will be able to give you further guidance.

Closing Thoughts

When your phone screen goes dark, so does your social life. Try the above techniques for adjusting the phone’s brightness settings and see if any of it helps. If not, don’t be afraid to contact customer support and get additional help.

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