Your iPhone can adapt to reduce eye strain and promote healthier sleep, but that’s not all it can do after sunset. We’ll explain the dark and night modes, Night Shift and all the other features you need to know.
How to use dark mode in iOS 13 (and your apps)
After added dark mode to macOS in 2018, Apple also included it in the 2019 iOS13 update for iPhone and iPad. Dark mode completely reshapes Apple’s mobile operating system to use dark backgrounds with clear text, which is perfect for reading at night.
You can use the dark mode all the time or automatically activate your iPhone after dark. To activate dark mode, do the following:
Head to Settings> Display & Brightness.
Choose “Light” or “Dark”, then activate “Automatic” if you want to activate automatic switching.
If you use the “Automatic” option, you can also activate a personalized program under “Options”.
You can also request Siri to switch between modes by saying “Hey Siri, activate dark mode” or “Hey Siri, switch to light mode”.
Apps also know if dark mode is on, and many will switch automatically. However, some (like Facebook Messenger) still require activating a dark theme. Hopefully, in the near future, most apps will accept dark mode.
Limit blue light with Night Shift
Research suggests that the presence or absence of blue light influences our sleep patterns. Our brains combine activity and vigilance with blue because of the sky we see every day. At the end of the day, the hot oranges and yellows of the sunset signal that it’s time to relax.
This is why many people imitate this with apps like Flux, which makes the colors on a computer screen “warmer” at night. Apple added a similar feature, called Night tour, to iOS 9.3 (and later) also added it to Mac).
To activate it, go to Settings> Display and brightness, then press “Night Shift”. You can activate a dynamic “Sunrise to Sunrise” calendar or define “From” and “To” times to define your own.
At the bottom of this menu, you can use the slider to control the “warmth” of the color temperature when your phone is in Night mode.
We are not sure how effective Night Shift is in promoting sleep. A 2018 Lighting Research Center Study 12 participants concluded that “just changing the color of the screen is not enough to limit the impact [Portable Electronic Devices] on melatonin levels in the evening, and that the screen brightness should also be reduced. “
Keep in mind that 12 participants are too small for a sample to draw meaningful conclusions. If you just want to dim your screen, go to Settings> Display & Brightness or the Control Center.
Preserve night vision with a red filter
Although humans are not nocturnal or twilight creatures, our eyes can adapt to the dark so that we can see better in low light. It’s called “night vision,” but it’s hard to keep if you’re looking at a bright white screen or using an ordinary flashlight.
This is why many flashes and headlights have a filter or a red bulb. Red light causes our pupils to expand less, which makes it easier to preserve our night vision.
Surprisingly, your iPhone includes a feature called “Color tint “ which serves a similar purpose. It places a red filter on the screen, allowing you to use your device while preserving your ability to see in the dark.
Follow the steps below to activate “Color Tint”:
Go to Settings> Accessibility> Display and text size.
Scroll down and tap “Color Filters”.
Activate or deactivate the color filters, then press “Color tint” at the bottom of the list.
Move the “Intensity” and “Tint” sliders all the way to the right.
“Color Tint” does not affect the screenshots (which is why the one above seems normal). However, the display takes on an intense reddish hue.
You can also define a shortcut to activate this function automatically if you wish. Head to Settings> Accessibility, scroll to the bottom of the list, and tap “Accessibility shortcut”. Press “Color Filters” if you want to activate this feature by triple-clicking the side button on your phone. If you have an iPhone 8 or earlier, you click the Home button three times instead.
Access your flashlight via the control center
You probably know the flashlight iPhone now but did you know you can change its brightness? To do this, swipe down from the top right corner (iPhone X or later) or up from the bottom (iPhone 8 or earlier) to access Control Center.
Press and hold the flashlight icon until you see a segmented bar separated into five sections. The bottom section represents “Off”, while the top is the maximum brightness. Choose something in the middle to change the brightness of the flashlight.
The next time you activate the flashlight, either from the Control Center or from the lock screen shortcut, it will use the previous brightness setting. If you want to change it again, just tap and hold the flashlight icon.
If you don’t see the flashlight icon in the Control Center, go to Settings> Control Center> Customize controls, then add the Flashlight icon to the list.
Take better photos with night mode on iPhone 11
The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro have significantly improved the photographic performance of the iPhone in low light. Night mode, which brightens up dark images without adding too much noise, is one of the biggest features Apple has released with the new devices.
Night mode follows one of the basic rules of photography: the longer the shutter remains open, the more light is captured. It is very similar to shooting a long exposure with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, and you will get the best results if you follow the same rules.
Night mode is automatically activated when your iPhone detects that there is not enough light in a scene. If you want to activate it manually, just tap the Night mode icon (the moon) in the upper left corner and it will turn yellow.
You can also use the slider here to adjust the exposure time if you want more or less light to enter. The further the cursor is to the right, the longer the exposure. However, the longer the exposure, the more stable you will need to be while shooting.
For the absolute best results, use a tripod to keep your iPhone from moving. Unfortunately, you cannot use Night mode with the Ultrawide lens on iPhone 11 and Pro. However, it works with Wide and Pro-exclusive telephoto lenses.
The more you experience the Night mode, the more you will understand how it works and its limits.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have an iPhone 11, you won’t be able to use Night Mode, which means your photos will be much darker (and noisier).
Activate LED flash for alerts
Do you like silent mode but hate missing notifications? Then you may want to consider getting a Apple Watch.
Otherwise, you can activate the LED on the back of the device so that it flashes quickly each time you receive a push notification or a phone call. It’s great for capturing notifications at night.
To activate the LED flash, proceed as follows:
Go to Settings> Accessibility and tap Audio / Visual.
Activate “LED flash for alerts” and (if desired) “Silent flash”.
If you activate “Flash on silent”, the indicator blinks for alerts, even when your device is muted. If you deactivate this parameter, the LED only flashes when your ringer switch is not set to silent.
Do not stay in the dark
There is even more sleep help available on your iPhone, including bedtime reminders, gentle awakenings and sleep tracking.
And if you are looking for a good reason to switch to the iPhone 11, the Night mode may be this one. But if that’s not enough, the Deep Fusion camera could be.
Otherwise, you will only have to settle for the dark mode and Other new features in iOS 13.