Apple restricts third-party access to the iPhone 13 Pro 120Hz ProMotion screen

Developers making iOS apps for the iPhone 13 Pro can’t take full advantage of the ProMotion variable screen refresh display equipped on the iPhone 13 Pro, with most animations limited to the usual 60Hz.

ProMotion is advertised as a tent hardware feature for the latest premium iPhone 13 Pro models, with a handset capable of adaptively switching refresh rates from a massive 120Hz to a battery efficient 10Hz, and between multiple frames.

The screen intelligently selects the optimal refresh rate depending on what content is displayed on the screen and the way the user communicates with the device. Fast graphics and scrolling operations have higher rates, while static content speeds up to just 10 updates per second.

Marketing material on Apple’s website and a demonstration by ProMotion at the “California Streaming” event suggested that all apps would take advantage of this feature, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in iOS 15.

Developers have noticed that while their apps reach 120 Hz during full-screen scroll and scroll operations, in-app graphics are limited to 60 Hz, reports 9to5Mac. Previous iPhone models and the current iPhone 13 use 60Hz screens.

Christian Selig, developer of Reddit client Apollo, drew attention to the obvious limitation on Friday. U a series of tweets, Selig notes, users of his app complain that the relatively slow refresh rates on certain animations create a terrifying experience. He further speculates that Apple has limited third-party apps to save iPhone battery life, as the same restrictions don’t apply to iPad Pro models that feature ProMotion.

Interestingly, Apple’s own apps are not subject to the same bans and can run at full 120 Hz on the iPhone 13 Pro.

It remains unclear whether the restriction is a mistake or a deliberate design decision by Apple, but there is a possibility that future iterations of iOS 15 will open the door to full third-party ProMotion access on the iPhone.

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Naveen Kumar

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