Bright blue-white light blasting in your face at night isn’t so great for your sleep or general health, but don’t worry: iOS supports color shifting so you can warm up the light of your iPhone for easy nighttime reading.

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There is a growing body of research suggesting that exposure to artificial light late into the evening, especially blue light like the crisp blue-white glow of our beloved gadgets, is a serious issue that effects our sleep cycles and general health. You can, however, minimize the effect of late-night light exposure by shifting the color to warmer tones. iOS makes this easy with its new “Night Shift” mode. Let’s take a look at what you need and how to set it up.

How to Enable Night Shift Mode

To take advantage of the “Night Shift” feature, you need to be running iOS 9.3 or later and your device must have one of the newer 64-bit processors introduced in Apple’s 2013 product line. This means older devices that are able to run at least 9.3 (like the iPhone 4s) can’t take advantage of the feature.

Night Shift won’t work on the following older 9.3 eligible hardware:

  • iPad 2, iPad 3rd/4th Gen, as well as the iPad Mini.
  • iPhone 4s, 5, and 5c.
  • iPod Touch 5G.

Night Shift will work on the following newer 9.3 eligible hardware:

  • iPad Air and above, iPad Mini 2 and above, and iPad Pro.
  • iPhone 5s and above.
  • iPod Touch 6G.

And, obviously, if you have a capable device and are running iOS 10 or 11, you can use Night Shift.

There are two ways to use Night Shift mode. You can toggle it on and off yourself via the iOS Control Center, or you can set schedules so the screen gradually fades to Night Shift mode as the sun sets. iOS 11 changed how the Control Center works, so we’ll tackle that version separately from iOS 9.3 and 10. Scheduling works the same in all iOS versions, so we’ll talk about that a bit later on.

iOS 11 Users: Toggle Night Shift On and Off

If you’re using iOS 11, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center and then hard press the brightness slider to make it full screen.

Under the slider, tap the Night Shift icon to turn it on or off.

iOS 10 and 9.3 Users: Toggle Night Shift On and Off

If you’re using iOS 9.3 or 10, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center and tap on the Night Shift icon in the center of shortcut row.

A box pop up with a quick summary of Night Shift mode and two buttons: “Turn On Until 7 AM” and “Schedule Settings…”; you can tap on the “Turn On” entry to immediately see what Night Shift looks like, or you can select “Schedule Settings” to jump into the Night Shift settings (which we’ll cover in the next section).

All iOS Users: Schedule Night Shift Settings

You can access Night Shift settings by heading to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift.

Here, you can select “Scheduled” to pick your schedule or “Manually Enabled” to toggle it on and off. To set a schedule, turn on the “Scheduled” toggle.

A pre-populated schedule pops out under the toggle. Tap it to make changes.

Here you can set Night Shift to automatically turn on when the sun sets, and turn off when the sun rises. If that doesn’t work for you, you can set a custom schedule based on the time of day. Note that even if you don’t use a schedule, whatever you set for the “Turn Off At” value is when iOS will turn off Night Shift, even if you enable it manually.

When you’re done, tap the blue “Night Shift” link (or “Back” link in iOS 11) in the upper left corner to return the main settings menu.

One final trick to highlight before we’re done. You can adjust the warmth of the screen by using the slider at the bottom of the Night Shift menu. “Less Warm” means you’ll get less of a red tint when Night Shift is on, while “More Warm” means the screen will look redder. If you tap on the Night Shift slider, it show you how that level of warmth will look when Night Shift turns on.

While we really should just be putting our gadgets down and getting a good night’s sleep, when we don’t (and we never do) features like Apple’s Night Shift are just the ticket for minimizing the impact of late night gadget benders.

Profile Photo for Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Senior Smart Home Editor at How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at How-To Geek, Review Geek, LifeSavvy, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker's Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek.
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