10 apps that save your battery with dark, AMOLED-friendly modes

These apps come with the true-black interfaces that are best for saving power on an AMOLED screen.

black ui apps
Choose the apps that make your battery last longer

Extending battery life to new extremes is a hobby of a certain segment of Android aficionados, but you don’t need to mess around with root apps or disabling useful services to make a dent in power consumption. If you’ve got a phone with an AMOLED screen, you can save a big chunk of power by sticking to AMOLED-friendly apps with black interfaces. That’s not exactly something developers call out in their descriptions, but here are 10 apps we’ve come across that offer an excellent true-black UI.

reddit sync
Reddit Sync

If you spend any amount of time trapped in the web of cat memes and celebrity Q&As that is Reddit, you’ll need a good Reddit client on your phone. There are plenty of options in the Play Store, but Reddit Sync is among the best. It includes support for offline sync, multiple accounts, and has a highly configurable UI. One option is an AMOLED night mode that can be accessed from the main settings page. Just select the AMOLED option when enabling night mode. 

Reddit Sync (Free with $2.49 upgrade)

fenix
Fenix for Twitter

You can tailor your Twitter timeline to be whatever you want—news, humor, or just what your friends are saying. If done right, you might end up spending a great deal of time interacting with your Twitter client, so it makes sense to have an app with good AMOLED support, and Fenix is an excellent choice. A quick trip to the appearance settings provides an option for an all-black UI. Fenix has ample features too like multiple accounts, an internal browser, and great conversation layouts. Fenix isn't free, but it's worth every penny.

Fenix ($4.49)

greader
gReader

RSS feed readers did not follow Google Reader into that sweet night—they’ve only gotten better. The long-time king of RSS apps, gReader, got a nice redesign a while back, but it still has a clean AMOLED night theme accessible from the settings. With gReader, you can pull RSS feeds locally or plug into services like Feedly and The Old Reader. The text-heavy nature of a feed reader makes it a perfect candidate for saving battery with a black UI. If you want the ad-free version of gReader, it’s a separate $4.70 purchase.

gReader (Free, $4.69 for ad-free version)

dots
Dots

Saving power doesn’t have to mean you can’t have fun. While a game with 3D graphics and hi-resolution textures will drain your battery pretty quickly, Dots is a simple yet addictive puzzler that’ll go easy on those li-ion cells. It has an AMOLED-friendly night mode too. Just go into the settings and choose the night theme, then start connecting those dots.

Dots (Free with in-app purchases)

DynamicNotifications
DynamicNotifications

The Moto X has a cool trick called Moto Display where it lights up a few pixels on the screen to show you incoming notifications. If you’ve got a different AMOLED device, you can fake that feature without killing your battery using DynamicNotifications. This app wakes the screen for a few seconds when a valid notification comes in, allowing you to see what app is seeking your attention. Pressing on the icon shows you the notification text, and a swipe can open the app. To get all the configuration options, you’ll need to pay to upgrade.

DynamicNotifications (Free, $1.99 to unlock all features)

gentle alarm
Gentle Alarm

Every smartphone on the planet comes with some sort of alarm app, but they’re not always the most thoughtfully designed apps. Gentle Alarm is one of the most feature-packed alarm apps out there, and it makes an excellent bedside companion. Not only does it have an all-black clock interface, you can turn on anti-burn (still a concern with some AMOLEDs) so the clock shifts around throughout the night. It’s not the prettiest app in the world, but it’s great for your AMOLED screen.

Gentle Alarm (Free)

shuttle
Shuttle+

You always need a music player of some sort, but Google Play Music is so bright and unfriendly to AMOLEDs. One alternative that’s feature-rich and suitably dark is Shuttle+. This app has a highly configurable UI with a black theme and solid design. On the playback side it has Chromecast streaming, id3 tag editing, widgets, album art downloading, and more. There’s a free trial, but the full version is only a buck.

Shuttle+ (Free trial, $0.99 for full version)

Textra SMS
Textra SMS

If you’re looking for a replacement for your stock text messaging app that’s a little more kind to your battery, take a peek at Textra. This app is free and has all the features you could want. It has a modern UI and support for Pushbullet and Android Wear quick replies. The theme is configurable with any number of color options, including a completely black background.

Textra SMS (Free)

anydo
Any.do

A to-do manager doesn’t fit into everyone’s life—you’re probably just as likely to delete these apps as open them a second time. Any.do is stickier than most, though. Any.do plugs into phone functionality like the calendar, phone, and messaging app so you can execute actions without opening any other apps. Any.do also supports attaching files to items that are synced across devices. The black AMOLED UI is right there in the main settings page. If you really dig Any.do, there is a premium suite with features like unlimited attachments, passcode protection, and a raft of others. If you're willing to cough up a monthly subscription fee.

Any.do (Free, optional premium $2.99 per month subscription)

javelin
Javelin browser

Browsing the web is one of the biggest drains on devices with AMOLED screens because almost every website uses a white background. Black backgrounds use very little power, but white on an AMOLED uses even more juice than an LCD screen. That’s why a browser with a night reading mode is essential for AMOLED phones. Javelin Browser is a great option because the reading mode is easily accessible (right in the action bar) and fast. It strips out all the ads and superfluous elements, leaving you just the the text, images, and a black (or white) background.

Javelin Browser (Free)