Burn-in OLED: How to Maintain to Avoid this Problem in 6 Steps

Learn how to avoid problems with your TV screen and prolong your device's life

Do you know what Burn-in OLED is? OLED displays require a little more care and attention than LED-LCD displays. Organic compounds within the dashboard mean these displays are susceptible to burn-in and heat damage in a way that other types of displays are not.

The burn-in oled effect is that “smudge” that stays on your screen when you change channels and it keeps appearing a kind of “ghost” of what you were seeing before. Imagine you are watching something like a movie and pause it. It sits still in that still image for a while, and when you switch channels, a sort of “spectrum” or “ghost” from that previous program remains on the screen. Here are some tips on how to care for your new TV and avoid OLED burn-in.

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Avoid Burn-in Oled

How to avoid OLED burn-in?

“Burn-in” is another name for permanent image retention, where a pattern is permanently stuck on the screen. This is caused by uneven pixel wear, where organic compounds within the panel wear out more quickly than those around them.

Permanent image retention is a cumulative process. This means that watching the same image for 1.000 hours straight will have the same effect as viewing the same image for an hour a day for 1.000 days. The recording usually takes hundreds if not thousands of hours to appear. Avoiding this is why the old DVD players had that resting screen where the player's brand logo kept flying across the screen and changing color every time it touched one of the corners of the TV.

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This screen was used to avoid burn-in oled

The easiest way to avoid OLED burn-in is to avoid displaying static elements on the screen for long periods. This includes “breaking news” banners on continuous news channels, health bars and other video game-related HUD elements (as illustrated below) or the “YouTube” logo that always appears on the same part of the screen when you boot the application.

It's another reason why the OLED screens, while beautiful, are not ideal computer displays. Whether you're using macOS, Windows or Linux, you'll have the same static elements on your screen every day. The same can be said of a game you play every day for months or years on end, or a news channel that you can leave in the background.

If you consume a variety of content, you will likely never see the OLED burn-in. If you're the type of person who plays video games for a few weeks and then moves on to the next, you're also relatively safe. If you want to turn off the TV instead of leaving it in a static interface, then there's no need to worry.

Be aware of its use, but not obsessive. You didn't spend all that money on a TV to not enjoy it, and OLED TVs have come a long way since the mid-2010s, when many burn-in protections didn't exist yet.

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Should you buy extra warranty on account of OLED burn-in?

Permanent image retention is generally not covered by a standard warranty, with the main exception being LG's “OLED evo” panels found in 2021. With that in mind, LG is known for replacing panels developed for free or at a cost reduced, so your mileage may vary.

So, if you want to buy a TV with this technology, try and buy the Smart TV 55″ 4K OLED AI ThinQ, from LG, which will meet all your gaming requirements and what you want to watch, as well as being able to control your home. smart without getting off the couch or bed.

Some retailers offer additional protection for a fee, but you should verify that the plan you are purchasing explicitly covers OLED burn-in before purchasing.

Be aware that some jurisdictions (such as the EU) offer more than the standard one-year limited warranty seen in some places. Others may have consumer warranties (such as in Australia) that cover you for longer than the standard warranty process.

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What can prevent OLED burn-in?

You must enable all existing OLED burn-in protections on your TV. For example, if you have an LG OLED, you can set “Logo Luminance Adjustment” to “High” ​​to darken the static areas of the screen. This is an aggressive setting, but it works and is ideal if you play a lot of games on your TV.

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lighting adjustment

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Pixel shift is another feature found in many OLED models. This changes the image on the screen so that different pixels are used, spreading the wear out over a wider pixel area. Your TV will likely also have a screensaver that kicks in after a short period of time, although be aware that this only applies to system apps and menus (rather than HDMI inputs like a game console panel).

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Most major consoles also offer a screen dimming setting, which reduces brightness to prevent OLED burn-in. You can find these settings on the PlayStation 5, most Xbox models, and the Nintendo Switch. You will need to do this manually if you are using a PC with your OLED TV.

Some games allow you to disable HUD elements or enable HUD transparency, which can help reduce static images.

Pay attention to where you install your TV

The placement of your TV is important. One of the main reasons why OLED displays can't get as bright as LEDs is because of the heat they generate. Too much heat can degrade the panel's organic components, causing damage and OLED burn-in.

You should make sure your TV has adequate cooling, especially during use. Avoid placing it too close to heaters or walls and make sure there is good airflow at the rear of the unit. Clean the openings regularly with a dry cloth or feather duster to prevent dust accumulation, which can affect heat dissipation.

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A high resolution TV at home

You should also avoid exposing the front of the panel to direct sunlight. This is true for most displays, but it is especially important for an OLED TV, as the organic compounds used in the panel run the risk of being damaged by strong ultraviolet rays.

Currently, one of the best models with this technology is Samsung's Smart TV 55″ 4K, which, in addition to being huge, has the company's state-of-the-art Crystal UHD imaging technology, which will turn your experience into a TV exceptional.

How often should you update the pixel?

Most OLED displays use a pixel update program to keep the panel in good condition. This works by checking and adjusting the voltage values ​​for each pixel, effectively “evening out” the wear on the panel. Most, if not all, modern OLED TVs include the option to perform a pixel update manually.

There is no need to initiate a pixel update in most cases. The clear exception to this is when you are advised to do this by a technician, for example, if your TV fails. Different manufacturers have different approaches, but most will manage this aspect of panel health for you.

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For example, LG TVs perform a short pixel refresh cycle every four hours of continuous use. Every 2.000 hours, LG OLEDs run a longer cycle, similar to manually starting a cycle yourself.

According to Sony, its “dashboard refresh” function “may affect the life of the dashboard” and therefore the company does not recommend doing this more than once a year.

Unplugging the TV from the wall outlet will prevent these cycles from running, so be sure to leave the TV in standby mode.

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Software updates

Your TV will receive software updates over the air, like most modern internet devices. These updates not only fix bugs and improve performance, but also often introduce entirely new features. Sometimes they also have problems.

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Updates can also have bugs and issues. Firmware released in early 2021 for some LG OLED TVs also introduced a bug that reduced brightness in game mode, with the fix arriving a few weeks later via another update.

If you are satisfied with the way your TV is operating and notice that an update is available, you can search the web to see if any other owners have had problems with the new software. It's impossible (or difficult) to roll back an update once you've applied it, so you'll have to live with any bugs until the fix arrives (which could take weeks or months).

How do you move your TV?

The issue of moving the TV safely is a concern for all panel types (especially as the sizes get bigger), but OLED models are particularly fragile. LG boasts of its shockingly thin panel design on the C-series, which is an impressive piece in its living room, but contributes little to the rigidity.

The easiest way to transport your TV is in the box it came in. If there is space, always keep the original packaging, preferably with foam or polystyrene protectors. Keeping these inserts is helpful as you can rest the TV face down on them while installing or removing the stand.

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If you've got rid of your box and it's time to move, you can buy replacement boxes that should allow you to get the job done safely.

burn-in oled
Know how to avoid OLED Burn-in

What to know about screen burn-in on your game console

Nintendo has updated its beloved Switch handheld game console with some improvements, including an OLED screen. This gives a much better picture than the original Switch's rather blank screen. As you read above, gaming is one of the potential issues that can lead to image retention or, at worst, burn-in. Here's what Nintendo said when we asked about burn-in:

"We designed the OLED screen to have as much longevity as possible, but OLED screens can experience image retention if subjected to static visuals for an extended period of time. However, users can take preventive measures to preserve the screen by using features included in Nintendo Switch systems by default, such as the auto-brightness function to prevent the screen from getting too bright and the sleep function to go into 'auto sleep mode' after short periods of time.”

That is, Nintendo is fully aware of this potential issue and has taken steps to minimize the risk. Also, although many games have static HUDs, you would only need to play that game for hours and hours every day, never using the screen for anything else, at the highest brightness settings.

But if that's you, and you regularly play just one game all day, every day for weeks with the brightness set to maximum, buy the non-OLED version of the Switch, which is cheaper anyway. For everyone else, the better image quality of the OLED version might be worth the upgrade.

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How to avoid OLED burn-in on your phone screen

If your smartphone has an OLED screen — like the iPhone 12, Samsung Galaxy S21, or Google Pixel 5 — you run the risk of screen burn-in. However, there are simple steps you can take to protect your device.

Tips for Avoiding Screen burn-in on Android and iPhone:

  • Reduce glare. The brighter the screen, the faster the pixels will deteriorate. Go to your settings and reduce the brightness to 50% or less.
  • Reduce your screen timeout. Make sure the screen turns off in less than 30 seconds to prevent static images from remaining.
  • Use dark mode. This setting emits less light and uses fewer pixels, allowing the screen to relax.
  • Activate immersive mode on Android. Enabling this will hide the status and navigation bars, which often causes screen burn. Some applications default to this mode, but you may need to configure it for others.
  • Switch to gesture navigation. Using swipe and tap helps remove static buttons from the screen and prevent burn-in.
  • Turn off your mobile. Periodically turn off your device to pause the screen.

How to fix phone screen burn-in

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for screen burn-in. Burning your OLED phone screen is permanent, but there are some steps you can try to reduce it.

Ways to reduce Android and iPhone screen burn:

  • Turn off the. Leaving the phone off for a few hours can help lessen the impact of burn-in. If the problem goes away completely, you probably just had image retention.
  • Try a burn-in removal video. YouTube has a series of videos colorful and fast that are designed to combat burn-in.
  • Download an app that helps to fix this problem. These tests to see if your phone is burned. They will then do a pixel update or adjust their settings so the discoloration isn't as visible.
  • Replace the screen. If nothing has worked to reduce burn-in, you may need to purchase a new screen. But first, check your device's warranty to see if the screen replacement is covered.

Quick FAQ

Can OLED burn-in be fixed?

Burn-in is permanent in television, but there are a few ways to try to improve it. Adjust the brightness. Lowering the brightness setting below 50% can reduce any burn-in. This should also make any image retention disappear.

How long does it take for the OLED burn-in to appear?

The effect on OLED screens can start to occur between 1.000 to 5.000 hours of aggressive use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with static images on the screen

How serious is OLED burn-in?

Burn-in is possible with OLED, but probably not with normal use. Most of the “burn-in” is actually image retention, which disappears after a few minutes. You will almost certainly see image retention long before it becomes permanent burn-in.

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Is the burn-in permanent?

It happens when users leave an image on the screen for too long, making the pixels difficult to change to a different color. Screen burn can also be permanent and considered a video hardware defect.

enjoy your TV

Many people prefer OLED TVs for their superior contrast ratio, near-instant pixel response times, and state-of-the-art gaming features like native 120Hz panels and VRR support to smooth out performance dips. As per the advice above, owning an OLED shouldn't require a lot of maintenance in most cases.

Still in doubt about which TV you want? check out our guide to buying a TV to ensure you make the right choice.


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Paulo Fabris is a journalist, writer, RPG player, gamer, cosplayer, nerd and fan of anime since the time of TV Manchete.