I can't see my phone through my sunglasses

Don't worry, you can fix the problem.
I can't see my phone through my sunglasses

It’s hot, it’s sunny and you want to spend the day outside. But as soon as you put your sunglasses on, your phone screen goes blank. What’s going on?

Well, there’s nothing wrong with your phone, it’s just that your expensive polarised sunglasses don’t play nice with your smartphone’s screen.

The screen on your phone has a polarising filter that helps to cut glare and reflections, ironically to make it easier to see in bright sunlight. The problem is, your shiny new sunglasses also have a polarising filter to cut glare from shiny surfaces (which is really handy when driving).

When the filters are aligned in opposite directions, all the light from your screen is cut out so you can’t see anything.

Which phones have the problem?

All polarised sunglasses have their filters aligned vertically. This means that light coming off of horizontal surfaces, like a wet road or lake, doesn’t create blinding glare.

Phones, however, don’t all have the same filters. When you hold a HTC One M9 or Sony Xperia Z3 in portrait, for example, the filter is aligned vertically so you’ll see the screen perfectly through your sunglasses. But when you turn the phones landscape, like when you’re taking a photo, the screens dim dramatically.

HTC One M9

The Samsung Galaxy S6, iPhone 6 and Microsoft Lumia 640 all have their polarising filters aligned at a 45-degree angle, so you’re unlikely to ever notice a problem. But that does mean their screens don’t seem as bright when you’re not wearing sunglasses, so it’s not all plain sailing.

As different phones use the filters differently, it might be worth taking your sunglasses with you next time you go looking for a new phone if you’re particularly worried about the problem.

What can you do about it?

If you don’t want to buy a phone just because its polarising filter is the right way round, there is something you can do.

Screen protectors often cancel out the effects of your phone’s filter, so you’ll be able to wear your sunglasses and keep your phone’s screen looking like new.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

comments powered by Disqus
Moto X Force comes with ShatterShield, the world's first shatterproof screen. Take a closer look at
This new screen tech will make almost anything possible - from camouflage uniforms that can change i
The LG G5 has some pretty interesting technology, and one of the most futuristic bits is the IPS Qu

18 February, 2020
Want to discover the secrets to your Samsung Galaxy Z Flip? Find out about the selfie...
30 July, 2019
If your phone isn't automatically downloading the APN settings from your network,...
30 July, 2019
If you want to know how to connect a PS4 controller to an Android device, or you're...
30 July, 2019
If you've got a stuck notification at the top of your screen, here are a couple of...
30 July, 2019
If you're looking for your mobile PUK code, there are a couple of different ways...
29 July, 2019
There are lots of reasons why you might need to remove your Google account from your...
29 July, 2019
Can't play video on your Samsung Galaxy? Find out how to reset your app preferences...
16 July, 2019
Phone not charging properly? Take a look at these tips on what to do if your handset...
15 July, 2019
Google’s new feature lets you shoot perfect night-time photos on the new Pixel 3A....
11 July, 2019
Find out about the best features of the Samsung Galaxy A80 and how you can get the...
4 July, 2019
Always going over your data cap? Check out these top tips to help you limit your...
21 June, 2019
All the features to be expected from the latest Android operating system, and how...