iOS 9.3: How to Enable Night Shift Mode

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The iOS 9.3 public beta is out and it includes a cool new feature called Night Shift. No, it isn't an evening job; instead, it's an option to cut down on our iOS device's blue light cast at night to help reduce the impact screen viewing has on our circadian rhythm.

My circadian what, you ask? Here's the short version: Our bodies respond to light throughout the day and take some cues on what should be happening. Light skewed more towards blue tells our bodies it's earlier in the day, and leaning more towards red says it's later in the day.

Our iPhones and iPads have a blue-ish cast that we typically don't notice, but at night our eyes tell our brain it's still early when we see that light. That's where utilities like f.lux, and now iOS 9.3's Night Shift come in. They shift our displays away from the more blue cast we typically see to a warmer cast that is less likely to mess up our circadian rhythm.

To enable Night Shift mode in iOS 9.3, tap Settings, then Display & Brightness. Now enable Blue Light Reduction.

Night Shift is disabled by default, but it's easy to turn on in SettingsNight Shift is disabled by default, but it's easy to turn on in Settings

That's all you need to do because Night Shift automatically adjusts you device's display based on your current location and the time of day. If you want more control, however, that's OK because Apple included support for manually adjusting the feature's schedule and intensity.

To fine-tune Night Shift, tap Schedule under the Blue Light Reduction option. Now you can set start and stop times; just tap Custom Schedule and set your own start and stop times. Adjusting how warm or cool your display gets is easy, too, thanks to the slider directly under the Blue Light Reduction setting.

You can set your own Night Shift schedule, tooYou can set your own Night Shift schedule, too

If you decide Night Shift isn't for you, just shut it off by disabling Blue Light Reduction.

Unfortunately, Night Shift mode isn't available on every device capable of running iOS 9.3. Here's what you need to take advantage of the feature:

  • iPhone 5s or newer
  • Sixth generation iPod touch
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini 2 or newer
  • iPad Pro

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Lee Dronick

Similar to this I have a scene for the HUE lights in the bedroom that sets them to a dim red-orange and there is a fade to off timer. This I do help me get into sleep mode.


Thanks for the article Jeff, one minor fix though - your list of available devices should say iPad Air or newer (not just iPad Air 2)

Tom Hank

Thanks a lot for such an useful article. It is true that this feature is good for sleep but what about eye? We must prevent our eyes from harmful blue light. Which is not possible with this feature. In my opinion screen protector could be a good solution. A screen protector can save our eyes and also can help us to sleep. I am using “ocushield” screen protector and it is working perfectly for me.

Larry Cherrin

Great article explaining night shift mode. Looking forward to using it.

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