Does iPhone’s Night Shift actually work?

iPhone’s Night Shift

We are exposed to blue light more often than ever before which can have negative health effects.

Since the awareness was raised, a lot of manufacturers started to produce specially designed products which can “fight” the bad impact blue light may have on us.

Carrying our portable electronic devices everywhere we go, it can be said they are the biggest threat.

Therefore Apple came up with a potential solution back in 2016 – iPhone’s Night Shift.


Apple is one of the leading companies in the multi-billion area of smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Like any other brand’s devices, Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Mac emit blue light.

But how did Apple try to reduce the blue light emission and improve its customer experience?

The answer is Night Shift, of course.

As good as it may sound at first, it should be definitely considered what the research has to say about it.

A brief explanation of blue light

In previous articles of ours, we have explained what blue light is and what health problems it can cause.

Summarized, blue light is a natural high-energy visible light, its main source being the sun.

The problem is the blue light exposure in the evening or at night.

Melatonin is the hormone responsible for sleep – the daylight awakes us, while the darkness of the night, acts as a signal for the body to finally relax and prepare for bed.

But the blue light constantly emitted from the devices we use confuses the brain, which makes it think it is still daytime.

This results in disrupting your sleep cycle, consequently poor sleep quality and other health conditions.

iPhone’s Night Shift

Apple’s Night Shift was introduced 3 years ago, in 2016.

The main aim of the Night Shift mode is to reduce blue light.

Less blue light means less digital eye strain and better night’s sleep.

It uses geolocation and sunset time data.

       How to turn the mode on?
If you do not know how to turn the special setting on, here is a quick and easy step by step tutorial:

1.Go to Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Night Shift.

2. Click on Scheduled and adjust the time frame to your liking. (You can activate Night Shift during the whole day by choosing from 04:00 AM to 03:59 AM).

3. Regulate the colour temperature – less warm equals more blue light, more warm = less blue light. When the colour temperature is set to more warm, the screen will appear in an orange sort of shade but you will quickly get used to it!

What does the research say?

In 2018 The Lighting Research Center has conducted a study in order to evaluate how effective Apple’s Night Shift really is. 12 young adults have participated.

They were asked to view iPads between 11:00 PM and 01:00 AM on four separate nights under four different conditions. (If you would like to know more details regarding the study, check the link of The Lighting Research Center’s press release in the sources of information below the article).

The outcome was a “significant” melatonin suppression during the two hours of each study night with Night Shift suppressing it slightly less.

Moreover, there was no big difference between the effectiveness of the two Night Shift modes (less warm/more warm colour temperature).

According to the researchers, changing only your screen colour won’t have the benefits you are hoping for.

They recommend reducing the brightness as well.

However, the best way to enjoy a good and peaceful night’s sleep is to avoid using any devices at least one hour or even two (as advised by The Lighting Research Center) before going to bed.

Melatonin suppression may not even be the problem – sleep scientists claim that inappropriate lighting is not the only reason for sleep issues.

The way we use our phones can also be a stimulant for the brain to keep us awake.

Scrolling through social networks or reading the news before bed are just as bad as blue light.

We have all seen a picture or read an article that made us anxious right before sleep.

Not pleasant, huh? A relaxing book instead is much of a better idea!

iOS 13 Dark Mode

The most recent iOS version has a full-time dark mode.

Sure, the cool appearance is the most obvious positive of the dark mode.

Furthermore, it saves your battery life and it is also said to protect your eyes from the original bright white background.

Yet, no research supports the latter claim since the iOS 13.1 was introduced on 24th of September.

You can turn the Dark Mode on full-time or make it change with the light one automatically when the sun has set.

Adjust it to your preference by going to Settings -> Display & Brightness.

Click on Automatic and choose different Options if you want to.


Apple’s Night Shift may not be the greatest way to protect your eyes from the blue light your devices emit.

However, it is better to use this feature instead of nothing at all.

Hopefully, Apple will improve it in future iPhone and iOS versions!

What you can do in the meantime, is to buy software like Iris which successfully regulates both the colour temperature and brightness of your screen.

This results in less blue light and naturally, less eye strain!

The best option remains not using your phone or any other devices one to two hours before going to bed and making sure to clear your mind.

This way you will enjoy a quiet evening and quality sleep followed by a productive day!

Author: Ilina Stoyanova

Read more:

Vision therapy: Eye exercises for keeping your eyes strong and healthy
What is the best Color temperature?
Best Monitor Brightness and Contrast Settings for Eyes


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