by Jim Lynch

iOS 9.3: Night Shift brings f.lux functionality for eye comfort

Jan 12, 2016
iOSMobileSmall and Medium Business

iOS 9.3 adds Night Shift to make iOS easier on your eyes at night. Night Shift is one of the best new features found in iOS 9.3, and it's going to make a lot of iOS users very happy indeed!

Apple has released the first beta of iOS 9.3, and I installed it on my iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6s Plus. While there are a number of new features in iOS 9.3, the big stand out for me is Night Shift.

Night Shift brings f.lux like functionality to iOS, meaning that it changes the color tint of your iOS device’s screen at night. Instead of seeing the bright blue light that most of us are used to, iOS will display a warmer color that makes using an iPad or iPhone much easier on your eyes.

While such a feature might not seem to be all that important, it really does make a big difference when using an iPad or iPhone in the evening. For example, I like to read on the Kindle app on my iPad Air 2, and I’ve always hated the seeing blue light it displayed at night. Such light can throw off your sleep patterns and make it harder to get to sleep.

After upgrading to iOS 9.3 beta 1, I found that it was much more comfortable to read on my iPad Air 2. I wasn’t surprised at all about this since I have been running f.lux on my Macs for ages and I know how much of a difference the warmer colors can make at night.

I wasn’t the only one excited and happy about Night Shift in iOS 9.3, MacRumors readers expressed their joy about it in a long discussion thread:

Fourofnine: ”I’m looking forward to this coming to iOS. I have the f.lux application on my MacBooks, and it really works great, reducing eye strain.”

Einsteinbqat: ”Yay! My e-mail to Tim Cook, and the e-mails of everyone else who wrote to Apple about this is finally giving results! About bloody damn time, I must say!”

Kallt: ”From time to time, Apple can be really surprising. Not only did I not expect Apple to introduce such a feature, I also did not expect to see so many options for it. After the low-power mode, I would have expected a simple on/off for this feature, but it turns out that you can now set the colour temperature permanently and you can set up a schedule or use one that is based on location and time. An amazing development.”

Kyelereilly: ”I’ve been waiting for this for YEARS! I don’t need to sideload Flux anymore. One of the best updates EVER!!!!!!!!”

NoahK17: ”Apple has a history of taking the best jailbreak apps and putting them into the core OS. Now I’m just waiting for that Candy Crush cheat to be added…”

Macduke: ”Clearly they were inspired by f.lux and the Mac app, but anyone who thinks Apple only added this after f.lux released their iOS version is delusional. Apple works on things for a long time before they see the light of day.

I’m glad they finally did this. I wanted to load the app before it disappeared and didn’t get around to it. As I said previously on this topic, Apple should do this for accessibility and health reasons. Anything that can reduce eye strain is good for users. Specifically I have a lot of trouble falling asleep after using my iPhone before bed. But it also helps me to wind down by catching up on some of the things I missed during the day on Twitter.”

DamoTheBrave: ”A system wide dark mode with API would be great too.”

More at MacRumors

Night Shift requires an iOS device with a 64-bit processor

Unfortunately, some folks who are using iOS devices with 32-bit processors apparently won’t be able to use Night Shift, according to a report on MacRumors. Here’s a screenshot from MacRumors that shows the devices that support Night Shift and those that don’t:

night shift ios 9.3 MacRumors

Night Shift might be a significant motivation to upgrade to a newer iOS device if you are still using one with a 32-bit processor. I certainly would if I were in that situation because it really does make a big difference in terms of eye comfort.

Hold off until the final release of iOS 9.3

As much as I like Night Shift, I recommend skipping all of the betas and waiting for the final release of iOS 9.3. I know that that is hard for some folks, but iOS betas are kind of a crap shoot. Sometimes they work great and other times they can be a big headache.

I’ve been fortunate that beta 1 of iOS 9.3 has functioned well on my iPhone and iPad. But I don’t want to encourage others to mess with it since there are sometimes bugs in betas that can adversely affect the performance of iOS devices.

So please be patient, and sit tight for the final release of iOS 9.3 if you can.

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