The best apps/software to get night mode on all your computing devices
On an average weekday, we use some computing device or another for at least 12 hours of the day. Considering that we sleep for 8 hours a day, we are exposed to screens for three fourths of a day! That’s a lot of blue light to absorb (all screens emit blue light, primarily). And while it is fine to absorb as much blue light as needed during the day, when the sun (which also emits a lot of blue light) is up, it is not advisable to absorb it after sunset as blue light messes up with our body clock and makes our brain think that it is still daytime and that it needs to be alert and awake instead of tired and sleepy.
But, well, we can’t help not having our face in front of screens in today’s times. How else will we stalk our friends on social networks or try to get through another level of Candy Crush (this is the last level before I sleep. Promise!)! So, we need to find another way to aid our eyes and brain to rest and as Apple’s latest iOS beta (9.3) reiterates, that way is to make our eyes see less blue and more orange from our screens.
Night Shift, the in-beta feature in iOS 9.3, removes the blue light from our devices and replaces it with an orange hue. The orange not only undoes all the damage vetted on our body clock by the blue light, it also helps our eyes relax and prevents cornea burn. A must-have feature for someone who reads in bed with the lights off so as to not disturb their partner’s sleep.
And the best part of Night Shift (or a night mode on a device) is that one doesn’t need to be on iOS to enjoy its benefits. Apps/tools are available on each platform to aid our eyes as well as help us live longer.
Below, I highlight the best apps/tools on major platforms to help implement night mode on your computing device. The idea here is to find a service which ‘just works’, without having to fiddle with too many settings or put in much effort to make it work.
Mac / Windows / Linux: f.lux
The one-stop-shop for all your night mode needs on all of your computers, f.lux is free and works seamlessly. Just head to f.lux’s homepage, download the version specific to your OS, install it, open it, set your location and the time that you usually wake up at in the morning and you are set. The software will adjust the brightness and color of your computer to comfortable levels depending on the time of the day. If you enable the ‘run at login’ option, you won’t ever need to worry about there being too much blue light to have a negative impact on your eyes, ever.
Installing f.lux on Linux takes a couple more steps and writing down a few lines of code. That shouldn’t be an issue because if you are running Linux as your primary OS, you are already geekier than the general public.
f.lux is also available for iOS devices but you need to jailbreak your device to be able to install it. There was a time when it was possible to install f.lux without jailbreaking but Apple shut that down and with the launch of Night Shift in iOS 9.3, we know why.
f.lux is not available for Android. But, that shouldn’t pull you down. There are plenty of services which put night mode on your Android device. Just perform a ‘night mode’ search in the Play Store and you’ll see. In my tests though, I have found Urbandroid’s Twilight to be the best in terms of ‘just working’. You download the app from the Play Store for free, open it, set your location and bam, the app adjusts your device’s brightness and color. The hue that Twilight gives is more toward the ‘red’ side of the spectrum but you can always change it from the settings (the red hue works too and is quite soothing). And, you can also activate/deactivate it from your notification drop-down.
Chrome OS: g.lux
Quite a few people today use Google Chrome OS as their primary operating system today (why wouldn’t they? It does most of one’s daily tasks well, is light, enables great battery life and devices running it are cheap). Their night mode needs are taken care of, as well. g.lux (don’t miss the uncanny resemblance to ‘f.lux’ in the name) is a Chrome App to get the goodness of f.lux to users of Chrome OS. Just download it and it is very easy to set up. Best of all, it can also be used with chrome on Windows and OS X to help you browse away to glory without troubling your eyes.
iOS: Night Shift
iOS’s walled garden doesn’t have any way to install a night mode app without jailbreaking your device and losing your warranty (once jailbroken, f.lux is the way to go). But that doesn’t mean that Apple doesn’t care about your eyes or sleep. They care so much that they are bringing Night Shift (it’s Apple; of course they’ll give boring things a fancy name). Available when iOS 9.3 is available to the general public, Night Shift, when activated from settings, will automatically change the brightness and color on your iOS device to suit the time of the day. There’ll also be a Control Center toggle to activate/deactivate Night Shift quickly.
Do you use night mode on your computing device? If yes, which app/software/tool do you use? Do let me know in the comments.