It has now been officially confirmed that Night Shift is coming to every Apple device from this point forward.
Apple introduced this special Night Shift feature with the introduction to iOS 9.3. Since this time Apple Night Shift mode has been updated for both the iPhone and iPad in iOS 9.3.2 beta.
The principles of which the device is set out to accomplish is to: save strain on your eyes, improve quality of sleep patterns with the added benefit of saving your battery life.
How does Night Shift Work?
This is achieved by using low light mode in the evening time. Night Shift reduces the amount of blue light emitted by a device’s display. Many scientists believe it is the blue light that keeps the mind active and makes it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Apple’s brand new display software tints the screen to be a more eye-friendly shade of orange. It does this by using the internal iPhone or iPad clock and geolocation data to slowly reduce the amount of sleep-inhibiting blue light emitted.
Before this innovation users on most devices were forced to view intense blue light every night on their display whilst reading or working on their mobile devices. This was much more eye straining, causing interrupts on ones circadian rhythm and thus makes it harder for people to fall asleep, also causing health issues in some cases.
This has all changed with iOS 9.3 beta and with Night Shift enabled. Now any display screen becomes progressively more orange-tinted starting at sunset.
So it’s going to available on other Apple products?
This feature has proved quite popular which is why Apple has made the commitment to include Night Shift in their other products with screens as well. These products will include motor vehicles (CarPlay, the Apple Car or both), smartwatches, computers and televisions i.e. essentially every device the Cupertino company is making at the present moment.
This is just the beginning: Apple have patented everything; and I mean everything – broadly ranging from electronic notice boards to fire extinguishers mentioned in the application. It sounds like Apple is covering as many grounds as possible to ensure another rival manufacturer cannot include a Night Shift feature of its own. However, an interesting point about patents is that Apple are not patenting this innovative technology, but instead they are looking to protect the ‘Night Shift’ name. This is because Apple was far from the first company to come up with the idea.
Google is also in the game
It should be noted that the developer version of Android Marshmallow had a night mode as well, but it was eventually dropped out. The feature has since reappeared in the early releases of Android Nougat, therefore it seems like Google is finally joining the bandwagon too – even if it won’t be able to call the new option Night Shift.
So how can we check if this really works one may ask. By using a sleep-tracking wearable to gauge (such as the Fitbit Surge), we can measure how well one sleeps before and after using Night Shift and simply compare and contrast results.
You can use the Fitbit Surge since the Apple Watch currently does not have an official sleep tracking app as of watchOS 2. This app can detect sleepless movements after one has finished reading and editing work every night. Night Shift isn’t going to be a complete cure for sleep deprivation, but it has been recorded that there is a meaningful difference in sleep quality and the results speak for themselves!
There are still some improvements to be made on this new feature though. Currently you can’t use this during Low-Power Mode, which is exactly what many people are trying to do i.e.save battery life and sleep comfortably at the end of each night. iOS 9.3.2 beta has solved this by allowing Night Shift and Low-Power Mode to be on at the same time, but not everyone has opted for the unfinished software.
Colour accuracy is also a reported problem. Photo editing or trying to determine colours in Google Spreadsheets late at night has proven quite impossible with Night Shift enabled. This is because the orange tint makes the spreadsheet cells in yellow look white, red look orange and light blue look green.
So having said the latter, Night Shift is still a nice feature which could be a sleep saver for many of us night owls!
So how do you use Night Shift?
Well it is incredibly easy to turn on and off thanks to a simple toggle switch added to the bottom of the iOS 9.3 Control Centre.
Night Shift and f.lux are easy to disable and re-enable for iPhone. The only prewarning advice I can give you is prepare yourself for the color switch. It’s like adjusting to the dark, to only have someone flip on the light switch without warning! It’s so important that Apple have put Night Shift right in the middle of the essential shortcut buttons: between flashlight and timer, and calculator and camera. To fine-tune Night Shift further, head to settings, Display & Brightness, and tap Night Shift. Here you can set it to a schedule that works for you and tell the app when to start and stop with the relaxing hues.
This iOS 9.3 menu also gives you as the end user a chance to “Manually Enable Until Tomorrow” and adjust the warmness of the color temperature. Computer owners can find f.lux for Mac OS X. It’s a free download and includes extra options like a movie mode to make the colors appear normal, and a radically different Dark Room setting!
In summary Night Shift is completely optional, but in my opinion a worthwhile display setting to explore if you have trouble sleeping immediately after staring at a screen at night.