6 mins read

How to stop your phone screen from turning off while watching

Your phone’s screen usually turns off automatically if it detects that the device is not in use. The amount of time before the phone goes to sleep can be set according to your preferences. But what if your smartphone could know when you’re looking directly at it and turn off the screen when you look away? Some phones have a feature that makes it possible to do just that. Here’s how you can prevent your phone screen from turning off while you’re viewing it.

How to keep the Google Pixel screen on when you look at it

If you have a Google Pixel 4 (or later) phone, you can take advantage of something called “Screen Attention.” As Google explains, the option uses the front camera to see if someone is looking at the screen and prevents the screen from turning off. It works best when the screen is well lit but not in direct sunlight. To activate it on your device, follow these steps:

1. Open Settings on your Pixel device.

2. Go to Screen.

3. Tap Advanced to reveal additional options.

4. Find the “Screen Attention” option and activate it.

Now, whenever the phone detects that you are looking at the screen, like when you are reading, for example, it will keep the screen on. Super useful, right?

How to keep your Samsung Galaxy screen on when you look at it

The same feature is available on Samsung Galaxy devices, but under a different name: “Smart Stay.” Just like the Pixel, Galaxy phones use the front camera to detect when someone is looking at the screen. This is how you can activate the option.

1. Open Settings on your Samsung device.

2. Scroll down until you find the “Advanced Features” section and tap on it.

3. Go to “Motions and gestures”.

4. Find the “Keep screen on while watching” option and turn it on.

That’s it, that’s it! Now you can use your Samsung Galaxy phone again without worrying about the screen staying on or turning off too soon.

How to keep your iPhone screen on when you look at it

On iOS, the same feature is called “Attention Aware” and is available to those with an iPhone X or later. By default, it should be enabled, but if it’s not, you can go ahead and find it by following this route:

1. Open Settings on your iOS device.

2. Go to Accessibility.

3. Tap “Face ID & Attention”.

4. Activate “Attention Recognition Features”.

With this feature enabled, your iPhone will seek attention before dimming the screen. If it detects that you’re looking at the screen, it will also expand notifications when it’s locked or lower the volume on some alerts.

Frequent questions

1. Does my phone have this attention detection function?

Unfortunately, not all phones offer this option. Right now, only some Pixel and Samsung owners, as well as iOS users with an iPhone X and later, can use this feature that detects when they are looking at the screen.

2. What can I use to keep my phone screen on?

If you don’t have a model that supports this feature, don’t worry. You can simply extend the screen timeout period on your device. This will ensure that your device does not turn off without warning. The downside to this is that if you forget the screen is on, it may not turn off for several minutes (depending on your settings), which will affect battery life.

To keep the screen on, on Android, go to “Settings -> Display”, then find the “Sleep/Screen Timeout” setting and configure it from there. On iOS, go to “Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Auto Lock” and extend the period according to your wishes.

3. How can I get my phone to stay longer?

While on Android you can extend the screen timeout up to 30 minutes (on iOS up to 5 minutes), you can opt for more than that. In most scenarios this would be enough, but if you want to keep your phone’s screen on indefinitely, whether you’re actively touching it or not, you can do so. You will have to install a third-party app like Caffeine and set it to prevent your phone from going to sleep under any circumstances.


The attention detection tool is a cool feature that can prevent your phone screen from turning off. It is included in the Pixel package, among other features. If you’re curious, here are 7 other hidden Pixel features you should know about and try. Additionally, it may be useful for you to know how to schedule dark mode to activate at dusk on your Android.

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