How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series: Automatically Dim Backlight On or Off?

By Adam Zeis on 10 Mar 2010 02:50 pm EST

In my endless pursuit to find some good, fresh topics, I was rolling through all of the options and apps on my device. I had a stroke of genius and realized I've always been curious as to how other users have their devices setup. Right out of the box, there are a load of options to play around with and tweak to your liking. Everyone has their own special way of setting up a device, and I would love to know what some of the most popular settings are. So in a new series of posts, we hope to find out just how you use your BlackBerry. We'll delve deep and find out what everyone likes or dislikes, how bright your screen is, how many message boxes you use, how you lock your device, your alert settings and much, much more. Each week we'll check out the results from the previous poll, and down the line (probably way down) when we cover everything, we'll take a look at what seems to be the best way to setup your device.

For the first installment we'll start with the "Automatically Dim Backlight" option (located under Options > Screen/Keyboard). This one is plain and simple - do you have it set on or off? Personally I never use it, but recently at a concert found my screen way to bright in the dark room. I set the device to automatically dim, and I love the result. Granted it can give you trouble from time to time depending on the lighting, but I think its a great feature and can even help save battery life. So what do you do? Vote in the poll below and let us know!

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series: Automatically Dim Backlight On or Off?


It's on but it doesn't work properly on my Tour. Sitting a dark room it remains very bright. Sucks!

I have to keep mine turned off. I would turn it to on but my berry wants to run full power, and I always listen to my berry.

On...question though. I have a storm, when Im in standard screen the backlight stays on. When i turn it to portrait view it dims to about 50%. Any ideas how to fix this?

My guess is that when your turning your storm you may be covering the light sensor which is located in the same slot as the LED indicator. Then again I guess that can't be the issue in portrait view. LOL

you probably mean in portrait it stays on and in landscape it goes to 50%. Like the other poster said. So try to watch where your hand is in relation to the LED when you turn it. If you move your hand away it should relight.

Yes, that is what I meant to say. I can have my hand no where near the sensor and it dims. Its very annoying. If I turn it back to portrait it comes right back to bright.

You're not the only one. My Storm does the same thing. I can be outside in the direct sunlight and it will still dim. I agree... Very annoying. =)

i leave it on but there are times when it is too sensitive and dims the keyboard backlight when i need to see it. otherwise, i think it's a very useful feature as it really does save precious battery life

Dim backlight is set to off because when I'm done looking at my screen I lock my divice anyway and I hate it dimming when I'm doing something. It's a no brainer locking my device shuts my screen off completly and thus saves my battery.

Definitely off. Always bugged me when the screen would dim. And even with it off I still have awesome battery life!

Yeah, this one has always puzzled me. I have a 9530 and the backlight dims whether I have it set to yes or no. On my phone I can't tell any difference one way or the other. It's just one of those things I've learned to live with.

I have it set to off and the screen brightness set to 50% but it seems that under certain lighting conditions it still will dim itself even further. This usually happens to me in the car.

I have mine (on my Tour) set to off so it doesn't dim on me but it still does after about 5 seconds. Happended on the Storm when I would rotate the screen and my Curve 8330's back light never worked right.
I know for a fact that my cousin using an 8310, 8900 and now 9700 on Tmobile has/had the same problems with all three. No matter what it is set to it seems to dim after a few seconds. Another friend of mine using a 9700 on Tmobile has the same problem. She asked me to "make it not do that anymore" I tried but after about 5 to 7 seconds it dims completely then goes off after another few seconds.

I'd love to have it off just because I want my berry to be running on its best...but to save battery life I have it on. Sometimes I turn it off when I know I'm going to be near a charger for a while. Its on when I'm looking at my phone under the covers, its way to bright under there !

Can't look at it as an individual post .. its really more of a series that will ultimately get some cool results. Sure a poll about Auto Dim may not be thrilling, but when you pair it with the others down the road it will show how users tend to set up their devices as a whole.

I leave mine on now. At first I set it off because it would go in and out at times when lighting situations did not change but I'd rather have this rather than it burn my eyes out due too being too strong at other times. And I'd like to think it's squeezing out as little more battery life to my already awesome 9700 battery.

I leave it on because I find that the brightness level it provides is always adequate. I have never had an issue with it.

I guess I must use it a lot under adverse conditions when I use it with Geocaching app so to have it too bright at night or too dim in daylight is a pain.I have seldom found during normal office use that 10% back light isn't OK but it sure is handy to have it brighten up outdoors or high lighting situations.

I have mine set to Auto-On and 1 minute. I use my Storm to take notes in church and meetings and so forth. So it's much nicer when I don't have to worry about it getting on someone elses nerves. I charge my Storm every night because I use the daylights out of it.

It's always on; a lot of the time the screen seems too bright so I think I'll try turning it off! The article has inspired me.

I would like to turn my lighting allll the way down(liKe on a iPhone) so ppl couldn't tell I'm on my phone and I wish I could turn my keys. I mean I'm on the bus right now and they are on WASTING my batter on my 9700 but that would. Be a lil neat. And a option for differnt color notifications built in I don't won't no damn app for tthat. ! But yee I hope BlackBerry™ reads this and thinks about it.. Who all agrees. ?

On. Always have. Saves battery life, eases eye strain. Always seems to hit a nice comfortable brightness for my eyes.

i have it on, but i would love to just crank up the brightness and leave the dimmer off... only im a slave to battery power, and i like to preserve whatever juice i can. i even got GPS turned off.

The backlight on the keypad of my Tour 9630 goes off after about 6-8 seconds even if I'm typing in the dark. Drives me nutty. It comes back on after about 20 seconds... An earlier post describes this same thing. I have the 'backlight timeout' setting to 1 minute. Any ideas?

OFF! I absolutely hate when the screen dims while I'm using it. I like the option to have it on or off, but I would never turn it on. I always have one or two spare batteries not too far away so battery conservation is not a priority in my case. My $0.02

On. It's annoying sometimes cuz there's like a half second delay when you walk outside into sunlight from the inside, but as I seem able to drain my battery to about 20% by every night, I leave it on.
I keep the backlight low too, cuz I use mobipocket ebook reader a ton lately and it's better on the eyes.

I just started to turn it off, because I found it slightly annoying. But maybe I'll turn it back on? IDK.

Probably just because I never paid much mind to it. I don't really know what it does. Is there a sensor or something? My curiosity will certainly lead me to try it ON now for a bit.

It evening time and my screen is dimmed to what seems 10. Which is the setting I had it on. Is it. Dimmed because of the time of day? I love this idea for a blog!!! Cuz I ♥ my 9700 n I love learning new stuff!

and like most others, it does the job most of the time but occasionally it does make the screen too dim for the situation. Can't have everything you want all the time, huh?

On except for bedtime mode. I like to be able to see the time when I wake up. Bedtiume is set to dismiss clock automatically-no. Disable led. Phone calls only. . I also have the phone set to go to bedtime when charging.

I never even knew about this adjustment. I turned it off, and it truly stayed off. I put it back on and see the dimming effect. Not troubled by it. I also reset my brightness from 100 to 70 while I was at it, and extended the screen from 30 seconds to a minute. I moved the LED coverage indicator from off to on...but have no idea what that does. Any help here?

When led indicator is on you should see a light flashing red on most berrys let you know you you have coverage I keep mine turned off tkink it is annoying plus drains battery

I get distracted when the brightness changes, so I turned dimming off.

I also fount 100 to be a bit too bright and set that to 70, so that saves some battery. (I bought lots of chargers, so I am usually near a charger and can keep it charged despite wasting battery power on the light.)

The final tough is that i use bblight to keep the screen lit when the phone is on charge. (Which is handy, since I use it as a desk clock at work and a bedside clock at night.)

Oh, one more final thought on lighting the screen... I really like the way my phone knows to light the screen whenever I flip open the cover of my Noreve case.


I've Always had it on But i hate how it will be BRIGHT then dim and once you stop using it it goes BRIGHT again... I also have my Brightness at 20. If only i could have it AT 20 and not Dim to 20.

I use my BB with Mobipocket Reader a great deal and when I do, I tweak the time to correspond to the length of time it takes to read a single screen or turn it off altogether.

I really srtuggle with this choice! If its off i get blinded in the dark. If its on it seems to dim too soon or make the screen too dark. Mine is off

On, except when I need it brighter. For the longest time I thought the handstrap hole on my 9700 was the light sensor and that the way I accidentally covered it with my hand made a difference lol

My phone has a handstrap hole? Where? I have charm strap from my old phone gathering dust, would love to use it! :D

Mine is on. But I don't think it does a very good job. I can be sitting in my apartment and not move, yet one second it goes as bright as possible and the next it's dim.

i leave the dim off, if its in the dark and i'm using it and the light gets on my nerves, i just dim it myself manually.. i have a 2600 battery so i dont care about the extra juice used.. mine lasts days... i also have my screen set to 2mins before it shuts off..


I have an 8530 and mine is set to 10% with auto dim on. I noticed my phone going bright & dim at random times which annoyed the hell out of me and after doing research for software or addon fixes I came across a forum where a guy put electrical tape over the sensor. IT WORKS! And its not that bad looking. So I hardly have a prob with the dimming issue unless I'm out in the sun. It also saves a heap of battery! Hope that helps

(Sorry, thought the reply titles needed a little variety.)
I always have mine set to "ON", but I also have the rest of my light settings exactly like the picture next to the poll, and I guess I never really give it a chance to dim with that 10-second timeout.

Sometimes when I'm working with the device for a long period of time, the display will dim to a level that makes the screen pretty difficult to see... BUT 99% of the time it will light back up if I tilt it a bit and change its angle in relation to the light. Odd.

And the rest of my settings, cause I have obsessively tweaked them over 3+ yrs to achieve MAXIMUM efficiency. (Feel free to copy/paste as a template for posting your own.) Annotations = {...}

[BOLD 9000]
Font Family: BBAlpha Sans {Best of em all, unless you use a plethora of I's and lower-case L's}
Font Size: 7 {Smallest font = most real estate}
Font Style: Plain
Backlight Brightness: 10
Backlight Timeout: 10 sec.
Automatically Dim Backlight: Si Senor
LED Coverage Indicator: If you have this turned on, all I can say is
Key Tone: Never
Key Rate: Fast
Currency Key: $
Right Side Convenience Key: Keyboard Lock {Faster than having to hold down the asterisk for a few seconds}
Left Side Convenience Key: Calendar {Default: Week View}
Horizontal Sensitivity: 80
Vertical Sensitivity: 80
Audible Roll: Mute
Menu Style: Short Menu

I have noticed that in daylight that it is still pretty bright but in the dark it actually dims I think that is pretty cool on my 9550 when it first comes on the dark it is bright but within about 2 or 3 seconds it dims works great love it plus it does save battery life

It annoyed me so I turned it off as soon as I found the option. I haven't noticed any difference in battery life.

...because I have a Tour and no matter where the setting is, it dims automatically, anyay. But I recall this being a problem also on previous blackberries.

But as mentioned elsewhere, sometimes it's too sensitive and will dim when I still have a lot of ambient light around. I have to turn the face of the phone toward a light source to force it to brighten back up. I'm still not sure exactly where the light sensor is on the 8100.

I leave mine in the "on" position. Helps to conserve battery and won't stand out like a beacon in a dark room

mine always seems to do whatever it wants whether i leave it on or off. Not sure what the purpose is when it doesnt seem to work...

I turn this function on. One reason is because i tend to use it more at night and in dark rooms. Plus it saves battery power. However I do turn it off if i am outside during the day.

What i hate is that the screen will go dim for no reason whenever it feels like it despite putting dim on off.Unbelievable that every Blackberry i have or my friends have had does this.It's an obvious bug that should be fixed.

For the most part, I leave it off, but when at the Theater (live, not movies) I turn it on. Since I already have brightness normally set at 10, anything to help.

I charge BB every night and when in the car it is charging, so have not had problems with battery life.

I have my backlight brightness set to 50 and auto-dim on, and it works just fine, but my screen is still bright at 10%...I hope they add support for any percentage, like say 5% or 3%, which would be perfect when using my 9700 in complete darkness.

I hate to admit it, but I frequently play with my BBStorm2 at night while in bed (checking latest news, weather, etc.). The screen dims automatically which means its not as taxing on my eyes, AND my wife isn't disturbed. Besides, it saves on battery power when the screen isn't constantly blazing!

Though this feature is in my Options, it doesn't work. I have read that every time you "cold boot" you storm, you need to re-set so it will keep you screen bright. Well, I've tried that and it doesn't work either. In sort I don't think it's worth the effort to try any more.

I have it set to "on" and my screen brightness set to 50 to save battery life. I've tested both features and found that A. my auto-dim feature on my 8900 works as it should, and B. I can hardly see a difference between 100 percent screen brightness and 50 percent. For the extra juice it's worth using these features.