Apple’s new iPhone 13 Pro will allow developers to use variable refresh rates with the 120Hz ProMotion display feature according to its updated developer documentation.
The ProMotion display feature has existed on the iPad Pro since 2017. For the first time, the feature made its debut on the iPhone with the iPhone 13 Pro released yesterday (after much trolling). This spec bump increases the max refresh rate to 120 Hz, an improvement from the 60Hz available on most phones. A higher refresh rate means less motion blur and considerably clearer image quality. This makes content viewing and swiping seem slicker and smoother.
At first, there were reports that Apple might be limiting developers from taking advantage of the feature, capping certain third-party apps on the iPhone 13 Pro at 60Hz. But now, the company has told developers that they will be able to take advantage of the iPhone 13 ProMotion display, divulging how to do so.
In an update to the ‘Core Animation framework developer’ documentation on Apple’s website, a new entry was made detailing how the feature can be used. The new page was titled “Optimizing ProMotion Refresh Rates for iPhone 13 Pro and iPad Pro” and explained that developers could take advantage of CADisplayLink to specify the timing for an animation. According to the documentation, the iPhone 13 Pro ProMotion is more flexible than its iPad Pro counterpart. The iPad Pro presently operates at 120Hz, 60Hz, 40Hz, 30Hz, and 24Hz. The iPhone 13 Pro ProMotion, meanwhile, can also use 80Hz, 48Hz, 20Hz, 16Hz, 15Hz, 12Hz, and 10Hz.
This could mean that developers can take advantage of lower frame rates for battery power-saving features. High frame rate implementation is not power-friendly, but it can be implemented in instances where an 80-120Hz refresh rate will be most appreciated. An example would be in gaming, for instance. It makes sense to have a game using a higher refresh rate, courtesy of the ProMotion technology. Meanwhile, more minor, lightweight apps that aren’t particular about visual appeal can take advantage of lower refresh rates. Apple will also automatically handle refresh rates, as they already do with the iPad Pro.
Apple confirmed that using variable refresh rates with the iPhone 13 ProMotion technology is not yet possible as there are issues with some animations. However, the company announced a fix is on the way. Because of this snag, though, animations are still limited to 60 Hz for now.