Quite a number of smartphones from the last few years have a feature that we have come to refer to as an “always-on” display. What that means, essentially, is that when the display is not in use, something else is being showcased a la screensaver but without the usual battery drain.
This has been possible mostly because of the use of OLED displays. The way OLED displays work is such that only the necessary parts of a display are powered and light up, the rest stay unpowered and dark. This is a stark contrast (no pun) to how LCD panels work. The latter make use of a backlight that is always on, thus the oft-linked battery drain.
On Samsung devices, starting with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, from 2 years ago, users get to have this feature which comes enabled on their devices by default. Over that time, since the S7’s release, Samsung has built on the feature by adding several sub-features that enhance the user experience. The latest one, found on Samsung’s newest devices, the Galaxy S9 and S9+, incorporates GIFs on the Always-On display.
4 days ago, it emerged that Samsung is keen on availing the feature to even older devices as well when an update to the Always On Display app (version 126.96.36.199) activated the feature on the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung’s top-end devices for the year 2017.
It is worth noting that even though this is the first time we are getting to see out and out GIF support for the Always-on display on the two devices, they have had some GIF support of some sort. Sammobile notes: AOD has always supported GIF files on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 for the one clock style that lets you see images when AOD is active, but the GIFs would simply act as static images.
How to get it
Go to Samsung’s app store, Galaxy Apps, on your Galaxy S8 or Note 8. Go to Update under My Apps and look for the Always On Display app and update it. That’s it. You can then go ahead and activate your glorified GIFs through the settings app. See the source link before for more details on how to go about that.
One more thing: this is only possible on devices that have been upgraded to Android Oreo. That shouldn’t be an issue to Kenyan users of the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note 8 since the update is already available here. It has been out for a while for S8 users and it started rolling out last month to Note 8 users.