Learn About Apple’s Color-Shifting Feature For Better Sleep

Night sky

With Apple’s iOS 9.3 update there was the addition of a feature called Night Shift. It may help you sleep better by adjusting the screen color from blue tones to red tones as night falls. Red tones are easier on the eyes and, like the colors of the sunset at the end of the day, they may help prepare you for sleepy time. Some studies suggest that exposure to blue light may interrupt your sleep cycle. This is because it slows down the production of melatonin which is a chemical that helps you fall asleep. The Harvard Health Letter points to two studies that showed that light of any kind suppresses the secretion of melatonin. The studies also showed that blue light is the worst. Even so, science hasn't proven that this feature will help you get better sleep. 

How to Use iOS Night Shift

Device Compatibility

As someone who struggles with sleep, I was happy to learn that Night Shift was available. I’d looked into getting f.lux, the free software from the innovators in this field. However, I didn't want to jailbreak my devices. I have an iPad Air 2 and updated it first. No problem, Night Shift was ready to go. I also have an iPhone 5 and wondered if the feature would be available for it because it's so old. Sure enough! Night Shift wasn’t showing up on my iPhone 5 after the update. I looked into it and here’s what I found. According to Redmond Pie, older devices are compatible with the firmware but Apple’s Night Shift feature discriminates against them. Don't know why. Other devices that do not have the Night Shift feature are:

  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 4s
  • iPod Touch 5G
  • Original iPad mini
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
  • iPad 4

How to Customize Your Night Shift Settings

If you do have a compatible device, Night Shift is already On when you download the software update. To change the settings for Night Shift and to turn it Off and On, go to Settings → Display & Brightness → Night Shift.

Night Shift screenshot 1 tutorial

At the bottom of the screen, shift the color temperature from Less Warm to More Warm by sliding the control bar. In the middle is the Manually Enable Until Tomorrow option. At the top you can turn Night Shift Off and On by toggling the "Scheduled" button. When the Schedule button is On you will see Night Shift's schedule. This will be either a specific time range or Sunset to Sunrise. To change the schedule tap the From To area to go to the next screen.

Night Shift screenshot 2 tutorial

If you select Sunrise to Sunset the Night Shift schedule will be set by your location. If you want a custom time range, tap Custom Schedule, then tap Turn On At and Turn Off At. Set the times you want by sliding the dials.

Night Shift screenshot 3 tutorial

Shortcut to Night Shift

To turn Night Shift On and Off without going to Settings, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. A Night Shift On/Off button is available.

Night Shift 4 screenshot tutorial


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