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What do the LG G6's 16:9, 16.7:9 and 18:9 app scaling settings do?

The 18:9 aspect ratio display on the LG G6 gives you extra screen without making the phone wider, but that also means the display is a different shape than some apps expect it to be. While Android's design guidelines let apps automatically resize to a wide range of aspect ratios, there are some issues that can arise — and LG's "app scaling" settings are where you want to go if you run into issues.

Potential app problems on the LG G6

By default, all apps on the LG G6 run in what's called "Standard" mode, which means they're scaled up per standard Android methods to fit a 16.7:9 aspect ratio — that is, 18:9 minus the navigation bar on the bottom and status bar on the top. For most apps, this is completely fine and you won't see any issues; apps will work just like they do on any other phone with a 16:9 display.

Where you may run into issues on the LG G6 is with games and media apps that want to take up the whole screen — including hiding the navigation and status bars — when in landscape, but are hard-coded to stick to a specific height and width. In this case, by default, you'll see the navigation and status bars hide themselves, but you will see pillarboxing: small black bars on the left and right of the app's view. In this case, you have two choices: leave it as-is and live with the black bars, or use the "app scaling" settings to force the app into a "Full screen" mode of 18:9.

When forcing one of these previously-pillarboxed apps to 18:9, the app will expand to fill the entire horizontal width of the landscape display but is basically accomplishing this by just zooming in on the app — that means some assets within the app may not scale properly, and you may have content actually cut off on the top and bottom. For example in a game you may get a properly scaled view of the world when set to 18:9, but the controls or extra interface elements will be squished or overlap.

So what's the best choice? In most cases, leaving the app at 16.7:9 is the best way to go, despite the pillarboxing black bars. You can always play around with forcing full-screen apps to complete 18:9, but at this early stage in the LG G6's life you can expect apps to be less functional when forced to this mode. Going forward, app developers will work to support these tall displays specifically and apps should eventually better support these different aspect ratios.

How to adjust LG G6 app scaling settings

Again by default the LG G6 sets every app to run in 16.7:9 mode, but if you want to adjust the settings on a per-app basis you can do so in the settings. Here's how to get it done.

  1. Open your phone's Settings
  2. Tap on Display
  3. Tap on App scaling
  4. You can choose Compatibility (16:9), Standard (16.7:9) or Full screen (18:9)

If you run into any issues on the LG G6 when forcing a different aspect ratio, you can always go back into the settings and switch it to 16.7:9, or even 16:9 for the most complete compatibility.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

23 Comments
  • I saw that netflix is now natively scaling content to 18:9? I'm assuming that they're doing this buy just chopping off the bottom and top of the video?
  • Sounds OK. Just bars as if the screen was a little smaller.
  • No it's not ok. I don't like this trend. So now we might have bars on top and bottom plus the sides when watching videos ? Unless I'm missing something.
  • I'd rather have bars than zoom in and lose part of the app.
    @Kevin below says it's like a 5.2" screen then, idk.
    I don't expect I can afford this or the S8 for now, so apps will catch up.
    Then I can see if this ratio catches on. I'm guessing the UI and dedicated apps will only use the full screen for now.
    I want to look at the video review here later.
  • The bars will only be on the sides when watching 16x 9 videos. If you are watching an ultra widescreen video as most movies are shot in then there won't be any bars.
  • Aren't Ultrawide movies shot in 21:9?
  • Adjust settings per app. Not liking that one bit. Hopefully Google doesn't go down this road.
  • Well the big takeaway is that by default your portrait mode apps scale just fine and your landscape games/media apps put bars on the sides and work just fine too. The per-app setting is really a fringe case.
  • Genuine question, is there any actual reason for people to be saying 18:9 instead of 2:1? Or is it just one of those trends that catch on despite being incorrect?
  • It's so people have an easier time relating it to the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. Also, it has been shown that when the black bars are applied to 5.7" display of the G6 that the actual viewing area is the same as a traditional 16:9 phone with a 5.2" screen.
  • They *could* call it "2:1, the 'House of Cards' " aspect ratio. 😃
  • I echo the sentiment that I hope this trend dies a quick and painless death.
  • Along with the dumb rounded screen corners.
  • What about third party launchers? Will launchers like Nova or Arrow have an issue with this screen ratio?
  • I have more faith in them than LG.
    They will figure it out quickly.
  • After the V10 I have no faith in LG...
  • Launchers scale just fine, like most portrait-oriented apps do.
  • "In most cases, leaving the app at 16.7:9 is the best way to go"
    It is indeed in order not to crop the content with those stupid roubded corners :)
  • We're going to need bezel-less phones, so we have have room for all these new, trendy black bars that all the kids are going crazy for...Said no sane OEM ever. Except LG. Well played, sirs.
  • Isn't Samsung also using this aspect ratio on the S8?
  • It would be more convenient if app scaling could be done in-app. And I just hate the idea of lugging a huge phone around but viewing video in the equivalent of a 5.2-inch display. Yeah, no.
  • The phone itself is not huge. Just looks longer. It's similar in size to v20.
  • Great that they thought through to include this detailed option for these new, taller displays (versus just black bars for all 16:9 content by default--love it or hate it, with no option to customize)! Nice.