Your iPhone can shine brighter than ever thanks to a new web browser

Vivid Browser on iOS
(Image credit: TechRadar)

After trying out Vivid on my MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) which enables the full brightness of the HDR display beyond Apple's settings, the developers have brought this to iPhone but as a web browser.

While you can easily switch on this brightness setting across macOS, there's restrictions on iPhone due to how the App Store allows what features certain apps can use, so you can't use Vivid all over iOS.

Instead, this version is only accessible through a web browser that its two developers, Jordi Bruinand Ben Harraway have come up with. This takes advantage of the brightness that the Super Retina Display and Super XDR Retina Display has on an iPhone X and above, but the two developers maintain that there's no risk of damaging your device through Vivid.

While the app is on course to be released on October 17, alongside version two of Vivid on macOS, we tried out the web browser to see how well it worked alongside asking Bruin and Harraway what the reason was for going with this web browser approach.

My eyes, the goggles do nothing

Vivid web browser on iOS

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Using the web browser is a simple affair, as it doesn't feature the ability to access or create bookmarks, alongside no reader view or even the ability to use tabs - this is a method to look at your favorite web pages at a high brightness setting, and that's it.

Bruin told me that this is the intent of Vivid on iOS. "You can quickly open a site from Safari or another third-party app in Vivid if you want to brighten it up a bit. The browser itself is quite basic, so we don't expect users to use this as their main browser."

There's also an 'action button' in the share sheet, so if you're viewing a web page in Safari and you want to see it in Vivid at a higher brightness for example, you can go to the share sheet, look for Vivid, and that web page will launch in the app.

It's a nice touch as it saves you from having to copy and paste the web address over to Vivid. Trying it out over the last week, I found that this method gets the job done on my iPhone, and pressing the brightness button on the bottom right shows you a 'before' and 'after' display of just how bright your iPhone can be.

It's only limited by what Apple allows developers for the App Store, but this is done in a simple and elegant way that you don't mind that it's being done through a web browser. While some users may be anxious that Vivid could damage your iPhone's display over time, I've not seen anything to support this, only that the battery obviously ran down faster due to the extra power that's required for the extra brightness.

Hopefully future updates from Apple will open up different ways for Vivid on iOS, such as video and SharePlay. But if you want to look through Amazon's site for example, especially as its Prime Early Access Sale gets underway on October 11, you can look at the sales through a much higher brightness than what Apple allows, and it's glorious.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.