Ambient Display Walkthrough: How to Personalize Your AOD

Software 2021-07-27
Over the past several years, an ambient display has been one of the most requested features by OnePlus fans as it allows information to show on your screen even when the screen is “turned off,” hence the always-on display (AOD) moniker. It’s a way for the phone to show you notifications, time and even your upcoming events just by looking at your screen and luckily for us, OnePlus brought the feature to its Android 11 implementation in 2020. Overall, it’s a feature that feels cool, looks cool, and adds functionality to your already awesome phone.

However, while most people understand what an ambient display is, OnePlus continues to optimize and allows users to customize this feature in several ways. Let’s take a deep dive into the ambient display and show how you can access settings and personalize it to fit your needs.

What is it and Where to Access it

For most of us super geeky OnePlus fans, THIS is the feature we have always wanted. Why?  It’s so convenient to be able to glance over at your phone without touching it and see the time, notifications and events without clicking any buttons. As we all know by now, OnePlus loves to optimize it’s software for maximum battery life so the “Always On” feature is off by default. Unless you have a compelling reason not to burn an extra few percent of battery life, turn on AOD now by going to Settings -> Display -> Ambient Display.

Always-on, Scheduled or Somatic Gesture

Wait, Somatic, what? Before we dive into the meaning of Somatic, now that you’ve turned on the Ambient Display, choosing when you want it displayed is the next challenge. Always-on will have the Ambient Display on 24/7.  Initially, I turned this feature on, but after a few days I realized that sometimes at night it actually kept me awake. That’s when I found, and then fell in love with, the Schedule feature, which allows me to turn it off when I am sleeping.

If you don’t want the Ambient Display always-on or scheduled, but still want to access it, Somatic Gesture may be for you.  As a brief explanation on Somatic Gesture, the ancient greek word for “body” is “soma” so “Somatic Gesture” is a setting that requires you (ie your body) to interact with the device to activate it. Personally, I suggest turning both of these on because if you are using the Always On scheduling feature during the middle of the night, you can easily see the ambient display info if you need it.

Personalize Your Ambient Display

Within the settings you can personalize your display with a custom message. Some people like to have encouraging quotes while others like to have “If you find my phone please contact me at…. “ type messages. You can make it say whatever you want, just click “Display message” within the settings.

New Notifications and Horizon Light

I lumped these together because, in my opinion, you really need both of them. The “New Notifications” toggle makes your ambient display light up when you get a notification while the Horizon Light provides a bit more personalization to the notification. Personally, I prefer Gold because I associate it with my Mclaren Edition 7t Pro. It makes me feel like a boss. Ultimately, choose whatever color you prefer as with both of these turned on, you will receive an on-screen notification and it’s sidekick, the Horizon Light, will also fire. It’s a pretty sweet combo.

Now that you know a bit more about our Always-on Display, what settings are you turning on? There are a lot of combinations so choose what works best for you and let us know on social!

Thank you to our OnePlus Community member Randy (@texasaggie1) for helping co-create this AOD overview!