Eye-strain while using iPhone X

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Kitkad, Nov 6, 2017.


Are you experiencing this issue?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. Suckfest 9001 macrumors 65816

    Suckfest 9001

    May 31, 2015
    "You're looking at it wrong"

    Love it
  2. ah1488 Suspended


    Oct 12, 2017
    a place of settlement, activity, or residence
    ive noticed it as well and some of my coworkers complained about the same. one of the guys i know said that it could be because of the flood illuminator but i have no clue if he is correct.
    ive used samsung in the past as well as currently have a note8 in addition to my x and havent had any issues with my eyes on those devices. same with my wife and her s8.
  3. Kitkad thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 3, 2017
    Haha, I've always confused the two. Thanks for the clarification.
  4. tcellguy, Nov 10, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017

    tcellguy macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2017
    I'm curious why people always seem to implicate the eyes in this situation. A new device causes headaches, while old devices do not, and the culprit must be the eye/optic system rather than the new device.

    I've had really bad headaches with LEDs using PWM since they became widely introduced in the mid 2000s. I've had numerous ophthalmology exams and even saw a neuro-ophthalmologist, but no problems were ever found. When Apple stopped using PWM in their laptops I began to be able to use LEDs for the first time. I was very worried that the iPhone X would use a low refresh rate. It looks like the X uses a refresh rate of 60 Hz (https://translate.googleusercontent...x.html&usg=ALkJrhgE-BSgBDhYdneV5qZKMZi0Q1SYvg).

    I think the PWM cycle leads to rapid contraction/relaxation of the ciliary muscles in the eyes leading to eye strain and moving the eye across the screen reading text while the screen is flickering can lead to motion sickness.

    I haven't yet seen an X, but with the galaxy series phones I can see individual frames of the screen tearing if I look back and forth at the screen and get nearly immediate motion sickness and eventual headaches from those phones. I get a similar effect from LED displays using PWM currently. In contrast, I can use all non PWM Apple LED displays for > 10 hours with no eye strain.

    I'm going to give the iPhone X a look, but I'm disappointed that Apple chose to use such a lot PWM frequency with such a deep dimming cycle.

    Does anyone know why OLED manufacturers don't set the PWM frequency in the kHZ range?

    FYI, when Apple switched from CCFL to LED in 2008 I believe this launched a mega thread on the support communities with people getting similar symptoms. I imagine the switch to faster PWM frequency vs. elimination of PWM solved that problem for most people:

  5. Atomic Walrus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2012
    This is speculation, but with an emissive (as opposed to backlit) screen the PWM is done by cycling the output of the sub pixels themselves (vs flickering the backlight LEDs). To cycle on and off the pixels themselves have to go from near zero output to full output. OLED is fast, but I don’t know if it’s fast enough for kHz on/off cycles.

    I don’t know about the X’s screen specifically, but 100% brightness hasn’t disabled PWM on any Samsung phones since the Note 3. The dips don’t go as far down at 100%, but the flicker still occurs. It’s likely you’re still experiencing PWM at max brightness.
  6. tcellguy macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2017
    Interesting. CCFL reportedly don't completely stop emitting light during the PWM cycle and I have no problem with those older panels unless they are really low frequency. I think the depth of dimming, e.g. 100 to 0% vs. 100 to 80% can make a big difference in tolerance to PWM.
  7. Kitkad thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 3, 2017
    So, raising the display to 100% helped with the eye-strain, but the display is too bright now. I wish the display would have less flickering. :(

    Honestly thinking about returning the phone and getting an 8 Plus instead.
  8. Aston441 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2014
    Oh heck. I've just started thinking about getting an X if it seems like all the bugs are working out, but I'm super sensitive to flicker. I can't believe they picked such a low refresh rate. That sucks.
  9. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Does anyone know, when i am sensitive to plasma flickering, will I have similar problems with pwm led flickering? Or is that completely different thing?
  10. rarebeauty macrumors 6502


    Sep 22, 2014
    It bothered my eyes too which is why I returned it. My display had a lot of color shifting so maybe that had something to do with it. I think I may have had a bad display. I’m not sure. But I went back to an 8 Plus and haven’t had any problems since.
  11. dtdt123 macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2015
    Just a thought, maybe some people are getting a bit of eye strain if they have got used to a plus sized phone and now they have the X their eyes are having to work a bit harder to focus on the slightly smaller text on websites due to the phone width being a bit smaller?

    This is aside from any IR/PWM issues.

    I’m getting my X today and I’m hoping this doesn’t affect me.
    I’m in my mid 40’s and my optician told me that that’s your mid 40’s is when your close up vision really starts to decline.
  12. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Switched from 6plus to se than to 6splus and than back to 7 and never had any eyestrain...
  13. gold/// macrumors regular


    May 12, 2015
    Nah, I've been using small phones for years, the X has been amazing for me in that regard. I really don't like the Plus models, so the X was the perfect comprimise.

    Anyway, the issue is the PWM (For me, at least). From what I've seen, it doesn't have to do with age. It's just that some people are over-sensitive to the flicker, and some don't even notice it.
  14. vannix macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2010
    I don't think they will ever release a software "fix", from what I learned, the OLED screens are ran at full brightness (and they use this flicker trick to make them dim) to hide any quality issue.
    My phone is going back in a few days (the last time I charged it was 2 days ago and it is still running, as I can't look at it and I'm using handoff on my Mac) and I'll pick up an 8+
  15. ataq macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2006
    My bet is on face id that causes some eye strain. Too much technology flashing at your eyes
  16. Zune55 macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2015
    I also get headaches but not because of iPhone X but because I had back surgery and my neck hurts a lot. The pain start from neck to head.
  17. thedropout macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2017
    The amount of people playing through the pain and hoping it gets better is perplexing. At the end of the day its a phone. I never experienced it with my oled phones but if i did i would toss them. Dont ruin your quality of life just to have an iphone x or a note 8 or whatever it is.
  18. kawa636r macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2016
  19. Kitkad thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 3, 2017
    Agreed. While it would be nice if the X worked fine, there are many other amazing phones out on the market right now. It's not a huge deal.
  20. MacQork macrumors regular


    Feb 21, 2017
    Migraines last from 4 to 72 hours and are always one sided (unilateral). Common complaints are a throbbing pain and increased sensitivity to light and sounds. 20% of patients with Migraine present with an aura (visual disturbance), but often do not. One of the common symptoms of migraine is pain so bad that they cannot perform work or other activities of daily living.

    People often call a severe headache, migraine. Which is not correct and as you can imagine this way people who really do suffer from Migraine are not taken as serious as they should be taken.
  21. predation macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2013
    Good reads. Gonna keep a close eye on my partner. She’s susceptible to migraines and she just started using her x as her daily.
  22. gold/// macrumors regular


    May 12, 2015
    That's the thing though, it's not just about the X. IIRC, Most of the high end android phones use PWM as well.

    And if you're locked into the Apple ecosystem (Like me), you're stuck with the 8/8+ until Apple figures out a way to use OLED without PWM. That could easily take a few years. Assuming they use OLED in all of their phones from now on, we're completely locked out of any new tech. It's really disappointing.
  23. wassup121 macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2010
    This may sound dumb but how do you know if the display is flickering? Is it seen to the eye? As an owner with slight headaches since 11/3 my only culprit is the phone but would want to confirm before I return it for the 8+. Since I only have 5 days left to do so too
  24. gold/// macrumors regular


    May 12, 2015
    If you want to test it for yourself, lower the brightness to 0, then record the screen with another device. I used my old phone to record in slo-mo, it's really easy to see the flicker that way.
  25. GrumpyMom macrumors 603


    Sep 11, 2014
    Migraine disorders are an interesting spectrum of neurological impairment that sometimes don’t involve any pain at all. It is actually rare for me to get the infamous migraine headache. Instead, I have symptoms that can range from seizures (typically longer in duration than an epileptic seizure) to loss of speech sometimes accompanied by loss of reading comprehension and/or ability to write or type. I can be debilitated for days at a time. Fortunately I’m a stay at home housewife with very supportive friends and family.

    Triggers for me can include a severe allergic reaction to food additives and mold, and lasers. Lasers used in light shows on performances in shows like The Voice and American Idol flicker or have some sort of pulsation at a rate that can drop me with a seizure pretty fast even though I have not been diagnosed with actual epilepsy.

    I’ve used my husband’s iPhone X while suffering from a sinus headache and it took a moment for my eyes to adjust but I actually ended up feeling a bit better reading this forum on it. I use a Galaxy S8+ quite comfortably.

    I think different people are going to be triggered differently. What works for one person with a migraine disorder won’t work for another. It is very important to learn and avoid your individual triggers.

    I do think the IR projector does something odd to my vision. But I can’t be sure because I only messed around with the animoji once. My vision got a bit wavery. Like I was looking at things through a heat shimmer. When it randomly beams at me a moment for face ID it’s not that bad. I just better not try to do any animoji karaoke!

    I don’t have an iPhone X but am thinking of getting one eventually.

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