Background: By default, Android will dim the screen after some time, then after another few minutes switch it off completely.

I’m working on an Android app which allows the user to disable and restore this behavior. That is, one action will make the screen stay at full brightness until the device runs out of power, the other one will revert to the default behavior (bright→dimmed→off). This setting will take effect regardless of which application happens to be in the foreground. Internally, this is done by acquiring a SCREEN_BRIGHT_WAKE_LOCK.

What would be good terms to describe these two actions? I came up with those:

To keep the screen at full brightness:

  • Force screen to stay on at full brightness
  • Keep screen on at full brightness
  • Prevent screen from dimming or turning off

To revert to default behavior:

  • Allow screen to dim or turn off (which may be incorrect, as other apps may still keep the screen on)

However, I’m still not happy with those. What would be a good wording for those two actions, clearly understandable and as short as possible?

Edit: There seems to be some misunderstanding regarding my question and how Android controls screen brightness, hence I’ll explain that in more detail:

  • The user can set the screen brightness to either a fixed value, or have the phone choose screen brightness based on ambient light, or a combination of both. This sets the brightness an app will have while the user is interacting with it. I’m referring to this as full brightness, even though it is not necessarily the maximum brightness the display is capable of producing.
  • Unless a certain type of wakelock or flag for the foreground activity are in place, Android will dim the screen after a minute or two.
  • After some more time, Android will turn off the screen—again, unless one of the above are in place and only if the “Keep screen on while charging” setting is not checked.

What I’m trying to implement is a feature to inhibit the above behavior and force the screen to maintain full (i.e. user selected) brightness, without dimming after some time and without turning off. This will be event-driven, i.e. the user can choose to enable and disable this feature when certain events occur, therefore I need some descriptive text for both actions.

  • The "full brightness" isn't necessarily "full", it is whatever value it was set, right?
    – Alvaro
    Feb 12, 2017 at 21:43
  • @Alvaro By “full” I’m referring to the brightness at which the screen is while the user is interacting with the device. This is not necessarily maximum brightness, but also not the brightness to which the screen will dim after a certain time without user input.
    – user149408
    Feb 12, 2017 at 22:09
  • That is what I thought, just wanted to confirm :)
    – Alvaro
    Feb 12, 2017 at 22:09
  • I thought the dimming served two particular purposes: a) react to ambient light to reduce eyestrain for the user and b) warn that the screen is about to lock after inactivity. I'm not sure disabling either of these is a good idea. There may be a third when in battery saving mode but that can be disabled. The ambient brightness can be adjusted and the lock warning doesn't occur is you disable the auto-lock feature (never sleep). Is there something else you are trying to achieve by forcing the screen to full brightness? Feb 13, 2017 at 9:36
  • 1
    From a UI perspective, would this not just be a switch/checkbox? In which case, you'd only need one label (something like "Prevent screen from dimming or turning off") and not the opposite.
    – Matt Obee
    Feb 13, 2017 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


Max-Bright |or| Max Brightness



If you decide to use a toggle, I recommend you call the toggle "Auto-dim" in which you turn it on and off. It will be intuitive to the user that when you turn off auto-dim, the screen provides max brightness.

Another alternative is to use icons. The "Max Bright" icon could be a sun. The "Auto-dim" icon could be a sunset.

Using an icon plus the text description might be the best approach from a UX perspective.

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