Samsung Galaxy SII SAMOLED display burn in - OLED screen persistence, retention S2

It is well known that the Samsung Galaxy S suffered screen burn-in on its AMOLED (Super Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display. The most prominent area to suffer burn-in (or image retention) is the status bar. Early models with older firmware (e.g. Android 2.1) used a grey or white status bar, causing icons such as the clock and battery symbols to be clearly burnt in (and becomes very evident when the phone is showing a full-screen solid colour such as a grey background).

The Samsung Galaxy S II with its new Super-AMOLED display, released in early 2011, is yet to yield any reports on screen burn (as of August 2011) - but then again, it has been less than six months since its release. The Galaxy S has been around for about one year, and thus has had more opportunities for burn-in to occur.

The SGS2 runs Android 2.3, and by design, has dark menu bars and a black status bar. The darkness probably originated from the need to reduce power consumption on the Samsung/Google Nexus S, which also features an AMOLED display.

Ways to prevent / reduce screen burn-in

You can mitigate the possibilities for screen burn in by adhering to these simple rules:

Diagnosing screen burn or image persistence

You can activate the diagnostics on the Galaxy S2 by keying in *#0*# into the dialler keypad. A menu will appear, and there are buttons to fill the entire display with red, green or blue. With a solid colour being displayed, you should be able to discern whether screen burn has taken place or not.

You can also create an image on your PC with a dark or solid grey colour. The image dimensions should be 480 x 800 pixels. Save it as a GIF or PNG and copy it to your phone, and display it using the gallery app. Using the same technique, you can create a solid black wallpaper to use on your home screen and/or lock screens.

Temporary image persistence

It has been noted that after displaying white text and certain icons for 30 seconds to a minute, then switching to a different image or menu, a very faint shadow imprint of the previous text/icons can be seen. This seems to be normal and the persistence will gradually go away after 20 to 30 seconds. It can be unsettling at first, but reassuring once the imprint dissapears.

SAMOLED display technology still in its infancy?

Commercially available organic LED displays have only been around for about half a decade, and high-resolution OLED smartphone displays for only a small number of years. Unlike LCD technology, which has had more than 20 years of perfection, organic LED displays still have a long way to go. The fact that they use 'organic' dyes and semiconducting materials means they have a limited lifespan. No one really knows just how long these displays will last. On the other hand, LCD displays manufactured 20 years ago are still going strong.

What can you do about it?

Unfortunately, not very much, apart from the points listed above. LED displays have a lifetime that specifies the time to half brightness (similar to the half-life of radioactivity). The light output will gradully become dimmer the more the display is used. So, things such as the clock and battery symbol will cause the areas of the screen they occupy to reduce in intensity, thereby leaving a sort of a darkened 'imprint' when the screen is showing a solid colour when the said icons are not displayed. Hopefully, the time to half brightness will be much longer than the useful lifespan of the phone itself. This may not please some purists and those who like to hold onto a handset for a long time, but is an unavoidable fact of this new display technology.

Unlike LCDs, OLED burn-in cannot be 'washed out' by displaying a complete white screen for an hour or two. A white image on an LCD causes the crystals to relax, thereby alliviating the problem of image retention when showing constant items such as desktop icons or status / task bars. But on an OLED screen, a white picture will cause more wear and degredation of the light emitting diodes.


Melanie, Tue, 01 Nov 2011 08:34 pm: Reply
I have had the galaxy s 2 for 4 weeks now. problems started with a people shadow on the top right corner by the on/off brien. It then spread to the rest of the screen. Image persistance stated and now it looks like the whole top part of my screen is burnt out. I'm sending it away to be fixed. This is the white version of the galaxy s 2.
Is this the common screen burn?

Taz, Sat, 14 Jan 2012 04:28 pm: Reply
Used the S2 intensively for 6 months now and screen burn is sadly noticeable now. Don't think much can be done about it but hope Samsung can rectify it as it may affect my future choice of phone.

Brian, Wed, 18 Jan 2012 01:33 pm: Reply
When I first got my Galaxy S (Fascinate), I took pride in running Pandora not only in my car, but all day at work... in landscape... with the screen on at all times. :-(

I now enjoy the ghostly image of the Pandora controls on one side of the screen when viewing anything with a light colored background.

Live and learn, I guess.

Vishnarov, Wed, 22 Feb 2012 03:27 am: Reply
I have got my galaxy s2 a month ago. now i have dark shade on the place of the status bar in red light
Peter, Mon, 19 Mar 2012 09:11 pm:
Have you tried returning it to Samsung to have a fix?

Andre, Thu, 29 Mar 2012 03:43 am: Reply
Yup, got screen burn on my <10 month old SGS.
No noticeable burn on red or green, but really obvious on blue.
Samsung should be CAL'd for this, it really is a sorry state of affairs that this wasn't fixed six months ago via FW update.

However, I may have figured out how to fix it.
As this is an organic molecule shining near infrared (NIR) light of the right wavelength on it for tens of hours *just might* repair the damage or at least reduce it by converting the non emissive form back to the emissive form via molecular reorganisation. Will post results shortly..

Mythoranium, Fri, 30 Mar 2012 09:06 am: Reply
I'm interested in hearing if your experiment works, Andre..

Andre, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 06:23 pm: Reply
Yeah, haven't had a chance to test it because her S2 is also on ze fritz as it is locking up while playing some games then refusing to reboot!!

What I might do is look on Ebay for a GS which is broken ie no wifi etc. Or screen burn :)

Sylvie, Sat, 05 May 2012 04:43 am: Reply
I've got a Galaxy Note and since i've been playing Wordfeud, I can see clearly where the tiles have been stationed if i go on a white background. I'm gutted.

steve, Fri, 08 Jun 2012 05:59 am: Reply
Galaxy s2 ,just got the wifes ,,,qwerty key board visible ,,, but she doesn't use it a lot ,,,,lol

Samsung Vibrant User, Mon, 20 Aug 2012 02:03 pm: Reply
What's the point if you have to utilize so many stop gap measures as to render the beautiful OLED screen on your phone practically useless.

Samsung Vibrant User, Mon, 20 Aug 2012 02:06 pm: Reply
P.S. I have a permanent "ghost" of my keyboard on the screen in every app and function I use on my Samsung Vibrant. It appeared after about a year and a half of use.

Christian, Fri, 14 Sep 2012 03:55 pm: Reply
Same here, Samsung gs2 ans I have the Whatsapp screen very noticeable on white and impossible to miss on blue background. Sent back to Samsung and they refused to repair as I had rooted my phone. Not that that's got anything to do with it!

Denzo, Fri, 09 Nov 2012 04:17 pm: Reply
Yeah i got it too.

Hannah, Sat, 29 Dec 2012 03:00 pm: Reply
Unfortunately i got my screen burn early on and while i was with my boyfriend at the time...i now have his name burnt into my screen. (due to using whatsapp) along with his name i have the letters from the keyboard i was using, and the icons such as new message, alarm clock and email notification also burnt into my screen. They are all very noticable. But im more annoyed i have to see his name everytime i look at my phone haha

Me, Tue, 15 Jan 2013 04:37 am: Reply
I have the 100% battery marker sitting dead center, just the numbers, since it was white on green. I hardly have this phone one since I use it only for app development. Screen timeout was 10mins so I could test apps without it going to lock. So how is it that the battery level (100%) is what's nailed to my display?

James, Fri, 15 Feb 2013 04:46 am: Reply
Hi all, just to let you know that I am now day 60 talking to O2 and Samsung. I would love to put up a transcript of all the conversation I’ve had at some point. It’s cost me many hours and about £30 on call costs. It’s been an amazing journey of award winningly poor customer services with Samsung and O2 trying to follow the scripts given to them by head office. To try and sum up, it seems that I broke my S2 by playing a card game. It was difficult to talk to them about this at first because they have been told to say there is no such thing as screen burn, but if there was to be such a thing then it’s the customers fault. So if we all stick to that line they will eventually give up and go away. You may have gathered by now that i am not going away. So far the phone has been back to Samsung’s service centre twice. After the fight of my life, Samsung have now agreed to replace the screen. They have also agreed to replace the surround because of all the scratches caused by them playing around with the phone. I also have a letter from O2 informing me that the reason the phone will not be repaired under warranty with O2 is because I played an app on an app phone! Think I will frame that letter after all this. The next step I hope is to get what I wanted from the start, a new replacement handset in a box with a new warranty or a full refund with compensation (second one not likely without court obviously). I have been told by trading standards that it is now up to me to prove that there were no warnings when I purchased the phone about possible damage to the screen by playing games/apps. (None found). So, this is a case of not fit for purpose from the date of purchase. The only thing which has complicated all this is that I listened to O2 when they said it would be better to take the phone to Samsung for the repair, big mistake. It seems that the best root is to keep everything with the company you purchased the phone from. I thought so much of Samsung before all this, such a shame.

Charlotte, Mon, 13 May 2013 07:14 pm: Reply
I'm so pleased it isn't just me that has had this problem. I am now on very limited visibility on my screen, performing any action on the phone is near on impossible so I have resorted to a £35 phone that Vodafone make it does just the job. I'm going to argue with Vodafone that they send my phone away but due to having a crack in the screen (slight carelessness on my behalf but doesn't affect the phone's performance as the crack has been there since December 2011 and the "burn" started a matter of weeks ago) I'm sure that's easier said than done!
OshayAway, Thu, 13 Jun 2013 05:41 am:
Same issue here. I'm taking court action to resolve.

dola, Thu, 08 Aug 2013 05:12 pm: Reply
hi, m using samsung galaxy grand for 1month..2 wks back I suddenly noticed screen is burned after 15mins of charging..screen burns gradually, depends on the duration of charging..
at 1st it starts from centre,after few mins it covers whole screen..display become blurrred..after removal of charger it takes 30-45mins to revert back to normal..its only happen when give charge..otherwise normal..wht can I do? m vry much shocked & afraid for this:(

brittany, Tue, 25 Nov 2014 01:47 pm: Reply
I have the galaxy s4 active and I am having these issues

Paul Smith, Sat, 03 Jan 2015 09:09 am: Reply
Gallaxy s2 is s joke with the bright light. Any brighter aircraft will think it's a new landing strip. Do anyone no if anythinf can be done.

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