Apple iOS Night Shift

Apple released iOS 9.3 two days ago. I installed it pretty soon thereafter, because why not? Pretty much the only thing it did that wasn’t a security update that interested me was “Night Shift”, the technology that changes the color temperature of the screen warmer during hours of darkness.

This isn’t an original idea. Assorted researchers have looked into this long ago. The idea is that blue light, like what comes out of your average LCD computer monitor, LCD TV, and LCD phones and tablets triggers your body to react just as if the light was the blue light of morning, waking you up. Not a bad thing if you are, in fact, waking up, but not so good for you just before you want to sleep. It can mess with your circadian rhythm, which isn’t healthy.

You turn Night Shift on by going into Settings → “Display and Brightness” → “Night Sift”, and setting a schedule for it. It defaults to 10pm to 7am, but I switched it to “sundown to sunrise”. You also set a color temperature you want; I left that in the middle.

When Night Shift goes into effect, the screen gets a slight, but noticeable, orange cast to it. In apps that have mostly white backgrounds, this is merely unsettling. Apps that use a lot of color can look outright strange. Night Shift doesn’t just make the white space warmer, it shifts all colors warmer. Games that use a lot of solid color areas seem to be… wrong.

It isn’t as bad as I’m making it sound. I stop noticing the color cast when I get busy with a game or reading. It is only when I stop and am not focusing on something that I notice.

And yes, it is a little weird, and takes some getting used to. This is the second night I’ve had this, so not sure how that will work out. I’ll also try turning down the color temp so it doesn’t get as warm.

Does Night Shift work? Did I sleep better and earlier last night? Dunno. I might be a bad test subject. I read on my iPad into the night, before bed and in bed before sleeping. If I’m not doing that I’m sitting in front of my Mac, and El Capitan does not yet have Night Shift.

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