Enable System-Wide Immersive Mode on the Pixel 2 XL to Prevent Burn In
Smartphones using OLED panels for the screen are becoming more and more popular these days. Samsung has been improving their AMOLED panels to the point where they are arguably the best on the market today. Having one supplier for a smartphone component isn’t the best and Google is well aware of this. They recently invested in LG’s OLED technology and contracted them to supply the display for the Pixel 2 XL.
Now, LG makes some great OLED panels when it comes to TVs, but they have yet to produce anything that can come close to what Samsung can produce. LG had once used their own OLED panels in the LG G Flex series, but shied away from them later as they went back to LCD. More and more companies are wanting OLED for their smartphone though so this year they went back to them for the LG V30 and the Google Pixel 2 XL which is manufactured by LG as well.
Since the Pixel 2 XL hit the scene, almost every review has commented on how poor the display is. Some of this can be attributed to the new changes in Android 8.0 Oreo, but some things are just from the quality of the display. So far, the Pixel 2 XL has been criticized for a black crush issue, an overbearing blue tint when viewed from slight angles, and a black smear type of effect when scrolling. Then we get to the wide number of reports of the device already showing signs of pixel burn-in.
Burn in is something that has plagued OLED panels for years and poor experiences with it in the past has sent many people back to devices with a LCD screen. OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode and since it’s organic the lifespan of the pixels isn’t as long as high-quality LCDs. For the most part, Samsung has been able to resolve this with their AMOLED technology as long as you don’t keep it on 100% brightness at all times. Normal use should keep your AMOLED device in good health for years.
Google has been doing what they can to prolong the lifespan of devices that use OLED screens, but even they admit that it is inevitable. Thankfully, there’s a way to hide the navigation bar and status bar on Android and it’s called Immersive Mode. This is built right into Android and it’s typically triggered by an application that wants access to the entire screen. There have been third-party applications that try to force this like GMD Full Screen Immersive Mode, but the biggest issue with using this app is that it breaks the soft keyboard.
Using Tasker to Toggle Immersive Mode on the Pixel 2 XL
Now, there is an ADB command that allows you to manually enable Immersive Mode but not many people want to be tethered to a PC just so they can enable this. For a while, the solution has been to use an ADB terminal to issue the command and that still works but it requires root access. So instead I’ll be showing you how to enable system-wide immersive mode on the Pixel 2 XL without root access thanks to applications like Tasker and AutoTools Beta. You’ll also need to install AutoNotification if you want to make a Quick Settings tile out of this, but it isn’t required.
Once you have those three applications installed, we need to grant the WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS permission to AutoTools so it can toggle Immersive Mode. To do this, you need to have ADB and Fastboot tools installed and you can follow this guide if you need help doing this. Once that is done we simply launch a Command Prompt within the same directory as our ADB and Fastboot tools and execute the following command:
adb shell pm grant com.joaomgcd.autotools android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
With that done, AutoTools now has the ability to change any Global, Secure, or System setting on your device. We can then proceed to the next step and that is to create an Immersive Mode toggle since we’re running Android 8.0 Oreo. To do this, the AutoNotification needs Notification Access, so when you launch the application look for the Notification Interception option and then tap on Enable Notification Intercept so it will point you to where you can grant Notification access.
Immersive Mode Toggle
Profile: Toggle Immersive Mode (30) Event: AutoNotification [ Configuration:Event Behaviour Filter: immersivemode ] Enter: Immersive Mode (33) A1: AutoNotification Tiles [ Configuration:Tile: 1 Command: immersivemode Label: Immersive mode Icon: /storage/emulated/0/Tasker/immersive.png State: 999 Timeout (Seconds):60 ] A2: AutoTools Secure Settings [ Configuration:Immersive Mode: Toggle Timeout (Seconds):60 ]
If you’re familiar with Tasker, the profile description is included in the drop-down widget above, but if you aren’t that familiar with Tasker then follow the steps below to set it up.
Launch the Tasker application and press the + button in the bottom right corner. From here, create an Event context and then select Plugin –> AutoNotification. Tap the pencil icon to open the configuration page for AutoNotification and under the Command Filter section enter immersivemode. This is the exact command that will be sent when we tap on a Nougat tile.
The next step is to create a new Task (with any name) attached to this Profile, and for the first Action go to Plugin –> AutoNotification –> Tiles. You can pick the first tile when it asks for the Tile Number. For the Command enter immersivemode exactly as written. The label is what you will see displayed under the tile, so you can name it something like “Immersive Mode.” For the Icon, save the icon that I attached at the beginning of this section to your internal storage and use that. Finally, for the State select Toggle Active/Inactive.
Once you’re done, run the Task once (by pressing the play button in the bottom left of the Task creation screen) so the tile will be populated. Now when you expand the list of available Notification Tiles, you should see your new Immersive Mode toggle.
Tapping the tile will enable Immersive Mode and this will hide both the Status Bar as well as the Navigation Bar of your device. This works just like you would expect from a 3rd-party application enabling the feature. So if you swipe down from the top of the screen the Status Bar will be revealed and if you swipe up from the bottom of the screen the Navigation Bar will appear. Google does have features in Android that help to prevent pixels from burning in, but this takes things a step further and actually prevents them from being display on the screen at all times.
Granted, this won’t stop other UI elements from causing burn-in. But Immersive Mode will go a long way to preventing the Status Bar and Navigation Bar from causing it. It isn’t the ideal solution and if Google had sourced the panel from Samsung, or if LG had done better in their QA tests, then this likely wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Most of the time people will trade in or sell their phone before the pixels start to be an issue but there are some who keep their phones for 5+ years and this can really help prolong the health of your Pixel 2 XL display.