Yesterday’s feature-packed release of the first beta of iOS 9.3 came with a curious new feature Apple calls Night Shift mode. A new switch in the Settings app, it prompts iOS to change the screen’s gamma value in order to make the colors appear warmer or cooler.
So, why would you want a yellowish-tinted images on your iOS device? Because “many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep,” according to Apple’s pitch.
Blue light might be the cause for your insomniac patterns so good thing Night Shift mode is here to take care of that. Here’s an overview of how Night Shift mode works in iOS 9.3 and how you can customize it to your liking.
Night Shift mode: how to set it up
Night Shift mode can be set up in a new section inside Settings → Display & Brightness. To enable it, you just flip the new Blue Light Reduction button to the ON position. “When enabled, Blue Light Reduction allows your eyes to relax so that falling asleep is easier,” reads the feature’s description.
Your iOS device will shift the colors in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum in order to cut down on the amount of blue light that you see at night. You can also drag the slider to shift the color scheme manually toward warmer or cooler. By the way, taking screenshots while in Night Shift mode results in regular-looking images.
Customizing Night Shift mode
Night Shift mode uses your iOS device’s clock and location services to determine when it’s sunset in your location. In the morning, Night Shift mode will return the display to its regular settings. You can also use custom schedules and cherry-pick the times when iOS will enable and disable this mode.
Just tap on Schedule in Settings → Display & Brightness to disable scheduling, select automatic scheduling (From Sunset to Sunrise) or use the Custom Schedule option to choose the times that work best for you.
You can then select when you would like Night Shift mode to kick into action and be disabled, as depicted on the screenshots. For an overview of other new features in iOS 9.3, check out Jeff’s nicely done video walkthrough embedded below.
Devices supporting Night Shift mode
Night Shift mode only works on 64-bit devices (hardware released in 2013 and beyond): the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4 and sixth-generation iPod touch.
The iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPad 2, the third and fourth-generation iPad, the original iPad mini and the fifth-generation iPod touch and earlier devices do not support Night Shift mode as they use 32-bit chipsets.
Owners of jailbroken 32-bit devices can work around Night Shift mode’s hardware dependance by installing one of the jailbreak tweaks that serves the same purpose. Jeff’s tutorial on sideloading f.lux on iOS devices is probably a good starting point.
I suspect that Night Shift mode will eventually make its way into OS X. Until it does, however, you’ll wholeheartedly recommended to install the instantly great (and totally free) f.lux for Mac.
What are your thoughts on Night Shift mode and will you be taking advantage of it, do you think?