How to switch off Auto Brightness in iOS 11


Auto Brightness iOS 11
Auto Brightness has been hidden in iOS 11, but it can still be found.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You’ve all been there. You’re sitting near a window or a lamp, reading an excellent article on your iPad — perhaps a well-written How-To from Cult of Mac — and your iPad’s screen Auto Brightness is going haywire. You slide open Control Center, and set it back where you want it, and continue reading. Then, you turn the iPad a little too far towards the light, and the screen brightness creeps up again.

In iOS 10 and prior, you’d just open the Settings app, tap Display & Brightness, and hit the switch for Auto Brightness. In iOS 11, that option has disappeared. The good news is that it hasn’t gone — the Auto Brightness switch has just moved.

Where has Auto Brightness gone?
Where has Auto Brightness gone?
Photo: Cult of Mac

Auto Brightness on iOS

Auto Brightness is usually a great iOS feature, especially on the iPhone, which accompanies you indoors and out. If you ever switched it off on your iPhone, then tried to switch it back on again in full sunlight, with the screen brightness at an invisible minimum, then you will appreciate the automatic convenience. It also saves battery by dimming the screen when appropriate.

But on the iPad, which is more often used indoors, perhaps never even leaving your home, Auto Brightness can be a pain. It can cause the screen’s backlight to creep up and down when you don’t want it to. Usually, the algorithms governing the changes are great, balancing the ambient light with the settings you chose manually. But sometimes you just need to take control.

How to find iOS 11 Auto Brightness

In iOS 11, Auto Brightness has been moved into the Accessibility section. Go to Settings>General>Accessibility>Display Accommodations, and there it is!

OMG it's back.
OMG, it’s back.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Just toggle the setting and get back full control of your brightness settings. Given that this is something that you may change quite often, the relegation of this setting is pretty annoying. You can’t even assign Auto Brightness to the Accessibility Shortcut feature, that neat trick where triple-tapping the home button brings up a list of accessibility shortcuts:

Auto Brightness should probably be added to this list.
Auto Brightness should probably be added to this list.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Perhaps the Auto Brightness setting could even be moved to the new iOS 11 Control Center brightness widget? Wouldn’t that make sense?

Don't tell me there's no space for an extra control here.
Don’t tell me there’s no space for an extra control here.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Wherever it lives, I’m just glad the Auto Brightness setting remains. I have lived without it all through the iOS 11 beta period because I thought it had been removed. Last night I finally got so sick of the erratic screen backlight that I hunted the setting down instead of looking at cat GIFs on Twitter. It was big a sacrifice, reader, but one I was happy to make for you.


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