The iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max feature an Always-On Display (AOD) that allows you to check the time without waking up the entire screen. The feature is great to have (albeit years behind Android), but its execution was a bit lacking, as it wouldn’t allow you to hide your wallpaper entirely. Instead, Apple’s approach involved showing a dimmed Lock Screen wallpaper. This looks fine, but in practice, it could lead to worse battery life — plus, it’s easy to mistake the dimmed AOD screen as your iPhone actually being awake. Overall, it’s a bit of a mess.
However, the situation has changed with iOS 16.2 beta 3. You can finally decide if you want to see your wallpaper (and notifications) on your iPhone’s AOD, rather than have Apple decide for you. As iOS 16.2 is still in beta testing, you will need to enroll your iPhone in Apple’s beta program to try it out. Remember, though, that beta software is unfinished, which means it isn’t reliable: If you need to remove the software for whatever reason, you could lose your data, so we don’t recommend installing beta software on your main device.
To use this feature on an iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max running iOS 16.2, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Always On Display, and you will see two new options: Wallpaper and Notifications. To improve your battery life, disable the Wallpaper option.
In case you want to minimise distractions and maximise your battery life, you should disable both of these options. By doing so, your iPhone’s AOD feature will show you the date and time and nothing else. It’s a relatively small change that makes the feature much more subtle.
iOS 16.2 is expected to ship in the coming weeks, so you can always wait if you don’t want to bother with beta software now. In the mean time, you could always try this hack to fix the shortcomings of the AOD feature on your iPhone. This alternative method involves creating a Focus mode to get the job done, and it’s surprisingly effective.