EDIT: Apple has just released iOS 9.3.2 which now allows night shift mode to operate in low power mode.
Night Shift mode in iOS is a system setting that allows you as a user to vary how your iOS device handles the blue light that its screen emits and varying times of the day.
Why Would I Want to Reduce Blue Light?
In short, blue light is the same light that reaches your eyes when you step outside. Biologically speaking it signals to your brain that it’s day time and hence your body reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you fall to sleep and that is critical for the synchronisation of your circadian rhythms. When using your iOS device during the day, this isn’t an issue but if you are using it at night time the blue light interferes with your circadian rhythm and hence your ability to sleep as well as your ultimate sleep quality.
There are some added benefits besides the blue light reduction, such as the reduction in being blinded when you wake in the middle of the night and look at your screen! The warmer temperature on the screen will be much easier on your eyes.
How Do I Use It?
Here is how you enable Night Shift mode:
Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Night Shift -> Scheduled (Toggle On/Off)
From this menu you have several options, I recommend you toggle ‘Scheduled’ on which will present you with new menu options. Again, I’d personally recommend that you set it to ’Sunset to Sunrise’ but if you want to, you can choose a ‘Custom Schedule’. ’Sunset to Sunrise’ will use your location and enable the ‘Night Shift’ to occur at exactly the right times for maximum benefit.
If you find yourself wanting to disable it, say because you are watching a movie, then from the iOS home screen you can swipe up from the bottom. This will bring up a menu where there is a new icon which looks like a sun icon thats half black and half white. Tapping this during the day will enable and disable the Night Shift. Toggling this when your phone is in scheduled night shift will present you some menu options for temporary disablement.
The final settings are for colour temperature, personally I set it to the most warm to remove as much blue light as possible but you should set it to whatever you feel comfortable with.
Applications to reduce blue light on electronic devices have been used for years on many other devices via apps like F.lux, however, this is the first time this has been possible on iOS (after F.lux was removed from the app store). Whilst it may take a little bit of getting used to you will soon notice the health/sleep benefits of minimising blue light around bed time. Indeed, this looks to be the way Apple is going as a default after the release of the new iPad Pro (9.7”) with True Tone display which adjusts the amount of white light dependant on the ambient light to make the display appear more natural.
What are your thoughts on ‘Night Shift’ mode? Leave a comment below.