Apple’s new Night Shift feature for the iPhone and iPad helps you sleep better?

Enabling blue light filter on your iPhone or iPad
The Night Shift feature for iPhone and iPad helps you sleep better

Apple has just introduced a new Night Shift feature for the iPhone and the iPad that is supposed to help you sleep better. What’s this? What has good sleep to do with your iPhone? This I will describe below, but first, see this video that explains how to use Apple’s new Night Shift feature in iOS 9.3 (both for iPhone and iPad):

It is gradually being discovered that the blue light that comes off mobile screens causes sleep disturbance. It can disturb the circadian cycle and it can cause the melatonin imbalance. As you know, circadian cycle is a physical, mental and behavioral pattern that manifests during different phases of the 24-hour day. For example, according to the ideal circadian rhythm, you should feel refreshed early in the morning, then a bit tired and sleepy in the afternoon for a quick nap, and as the darkness descends, you should feel relaxed and sleepy, or prepared to go to bed for 7-8 hours (depending on your need).

Melatonin is a hormonal substance that prepares your body as the night comes. It tells your body that now it’s time to go to sleep. This programming has embedded itself during hundreds and thousands of years of evolution. Read on this Scientific American link on how the blue light totally screws up your sleeping pattern.

The blue light emitted from smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers and even TVs wreaks havoc with your circadian cycle and the level of melatonin in your body. Various apps and screen guards are available to reduce the level of this blue light.

To help iPhone users sleep better at night, Apple has introduced the Night Shift feature that automatically reduces the level of blue light being emitted from iPhones and iPads as the evening comes. The Night Shift feature for the iPhone automatically starts displaying a warmer hue as the sun sets.

Why do smart phones emit the blue light? The thing is that the blue light is the brightest and it is also given off by the sun. So it has to be slightly brighter than the blue light given off by the sun otherwise you won’t be able to read your screens on sunny days.

What does the iPhone and iPad Night Shift feature do? You can set it up to reduce the level of the blue light being emitted by your Apple device when the evening comes. You can set it to reduce the blue light automatically or you can instruct your device to reduce it from a particular time onwards (from 7 PM-7 AM, for example).

How to use the new Night Shift feature in iPhone and iPad?

In order to be able to use the new Night Shift feature you will have to upgrade your iOS to iOS 9.3, but you may face the activation error while upgrading to iOS 9.3 as is being reported by many users. Anyway, if you want to use the Night Shift feature, you will need to update. Once you have updated to iOS 9.3, the feature will automatically appear in the Display & Brightness section of your Settings. Just

  1. Go to the Settings of your iPad or iPhone
  2. Tap on Display & Brightness
  3. There you can switch on the Night Shift feature

As you will be able to see, you can set it up to activate your Night Shift feature automatically or you can set it up manually.

What can be the side effects of using the Night Shift feature on your iPhone or iPad?

Well, if the blue light disturbs your circadian cycle and doesn’t allow you to get a proper night’s sleep, the reverse should happen. You should be able to sleep more soundly and wake up refreshed. I mean, that’s why you would use the Night Shift feature on your iPad or iPhone.

A possible problem with activating the Night Shift feature on your iPhone or iPad could be that you will be encouraged to use your device before going to bed if otherwise you were not using. For example, most of us know that using a smartphone or tablet may disturb sleep and hence we refrain from using it. Once we know that activating the Night Shift feature gets rid of that problem, we will be more prone to using the iPhone or the iPad before going to bed.

It’s not just the light that disturbs our sleep, it’s also the stuff that we watch on our mobile devices. There are updates on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram that may excite us and make us fully awake.

But I think this is like just jumping the gun. This is a good feature and you should definitely activate it if you have been able to upgrade your device to iOS 9.3. I’m going to upgrade my daughter’s iPad after publishing this post just for this feature.

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About Amrit Hallan
Amrit Hallan is the founder of He writes about technology not because "he loves to write about technology", he actually believes that it makes the world a better place. On Twitter you can follow him at @amrithallan

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