Why you should use Night Shift mode in iOS 9.3

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iOS 9.3 Night Shift
Night Shift mode is a must in iOS 9.3.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

iOS 9.3 might not look like much of an upgrade, but there’s one feature you should definitely be excited about. It’s called Night Shift, and it makes using your iPhone or iPad before bed more comfortable, more enjoyable and healthier by banishing blue light.

Here’s why you should use it once iOS 9.3 becomes available.

Almost all gadgets with a display give off blue light, and while it’s perfectly healthy to absorb as much as you like during the day, it’s not something you want to take in at night. Using phones and tablets close to bedtime can make falling and staying asleep more difficult.

That’s because blue light tricks our circadian rhythm, or natural body clock, into thinking that it’s daytime. It also boosts attention and reaction times, and interferes with our bodies’ production of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep, making it difficult to nod off.

It’s not just your sleep that suffers, either; multiple studies have linked exposure to blue light and disrupted circadian rhythms to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancer. Harvard researchers were able to increase blood sugar levels and lower the level of leptin, a hormone that causes people to feel full after a meal, in 10 people simply by changing their circadian rhythms.

I installed the iOS 9.3 beta as soon as it became available January 11 and enabled Night Shift right away (it’s disabled by default). I also set up the scheduling option, which automatically turns Night Shift on at sunset and disables it at sunrise. The difference is amazing.

It’s obvious when Night Shift mode is active; your whole display gets an orangey hue, like the color temperature has been turned right up. But it doesn’t make it any more difficult to see what’s on screen — it just makes it more comfortable to look at in dimly lit environments.

If you like reading in bed, or playing games until you’re ready to sleep, Night Shift is a must. Not only does it eliminate that feeling of a burning cornea, but it also prevents your iPhone or iPad from lighting up the whole room, which bedmates will appreciate.

It’s hard to tell whether Night Shift mode has improved my sleep, though. I’ve always been a pretty good sleeper when the kids let me. Some mornings I feel like I’ve slept better, so maybe it’s helping — but I suspect that this is just psychological.

Either way, you should upgrade to iOS 9.3 as soon as Apple makes it available to all, and set up Night Shift scheduling. It takes about 10 seconds, and it’s well worth it if you use your iOS device at night. Your eyes will certainly appreciate it.

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  • Robbie

    flux was the main reason I jailbroke my iPod touch way back when, and I continue to use it on my computer screens. I’ll be happy to have that function without having to tamper with my iPhone (The last time I jailbroke, I had terrifying screen crashes that looked like pixel explosions under the glass and frantically wiped it to start over with default software).

    • digitaldumdum

      “Terrifying screen crashes” and “pixel explosions?” A bit dramatic, don’t you think?. :) I’ve been jailbreaking for years, and those are new ones on me. Never any problem here on many devices, and certainly •nothing• having to do with f.lux… I mean Night Shift. :)

  • digitaldumdum

    “Why you should use Night Shift mode in iOS 9.3”

    Been using it for years on iOS 5, 6, 7 and iOS 8, on my jailbroken iPhones and iPads. Its actual name is f.lux (code of which has been “borrowed” by Apple and re-branded for iOS 9.3). F.lux… I mean Night Shift, is one of the top 5 reasons most jail-breakers cite for freeing their devices.

    By the way, a free version of f.lux has been available for Macs for some time. Just google f.lux for a link to the excellent app. Now, your Mac can instantly become easier to read at night (or any) time, as well.

  • Gaurav Pandey

    Why use it ? because its good and comfortable to eyes. I use blue filter or Screen Filter free apps on Android for years. Its very useful at night.

  • E. Martínez

    Hi Killian. I too love the comfort to my eyes f.lux offers on my Mac and was the ONLY reason I used to jailbreak my iPhone. The instability jailbreaking bring to the iPhone caused me to get away from that going back to the days of my iPhone 4s. Glad to see Apple offering it on iOS 9.3 and I was fortunate to find the code to sideload f.lux (v1.09) on my 6sPlus now. Just a correction to your article however. You mention that “the color temperature has been turned right up” however it’s actually the opposite. The color temp is actually turned down to about 3400k from 6500k.

  • Bob

    What is The best app to put on my Apple iPhone 6 so it makes it a hotspot so I can run
    my iPad?