You can now adjust the screen on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to help you fall asleep more easily at night thanks to Apple's latest iOS 9.3 update. For those familiar with F.lux, the app that has long been available to jailbreak users (and that was recently removed from the iOS App Store for everyone else), Apple's official Night Shift feature is a familiar one.
If this is new to you, here's the simple explanation: Our brains are very reactive to the light our eyes intake. Blue light, like that emanating from your iOS device, has a negative effect on your circadian rhythm, actually preventing the buildup of melatonin—the hormone that anticipates darkness—so that you brain doesn't know it's time to sleep yet.
Now to be clear, no matter what type of screen adjustments are made, to truly prepare for bedtime, you need to put your device down. But the technology behind F.lux, and now Night Shift mode, can help by reducing blue light in favor or warmer colors that let the melatonin do its job.
First off, know that this feature requires an update to iOS 9.3, so make sure to go to Settings -> General -> Software Update to get that out of the way. Furthermore, Night Shift mode is only available on the following devices:
- iPod touch (sixth generation)
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPad Air
- iPad Air 2
- iPad mini 2
- iPad mini 3
- iPad mini 4
- iPad Pro
Basically, if your device has a 64-bit CPU, you can use Night Shift.
With the proper iOS version and compatible device, simply head to Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Night Shift.
From the Night Shift settings, toggle on Manually Enable Until Tomorrow, then adjust the tint by using the Color Temperature slider. You'll notice the effects instantly.
While enabling Night Shift mode is a good first step to preventing wear on your circadian rhythm, setting Night Shift on a Day/Night or custom schedule can help to automate things so you don't have to keep going into your settings every night before you hit the sack.
For most, the Sunset to Sunrise option will suffice, but if you keep irregular hours, the Custom Schedule option allows you to activate Night Shift at specific times to meet your needs.
For an even faster way to toggle on Night Shift, just pull up the Control Center and enable the feature. In iOS 10, the toggle was moved from a small icon to its own big button above the other four app shortcuts.
So that's it! It's not a new feature since it's been available via jailbreak, on Mac OS X, and even on the Android side of things for a while, but it's definitely nice that Apple has integrated it into their mobile operating system. Now, if only they'd let F.lux back into the iOS App Store to give people options!