How-To: Set up and use Night Shift mode on iPhone and iPad [Video] – 9 to 5 Mac

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iOS 9.3’s headlining new feature is called Night Shift mode. By adjusting the color temperature of your iPhone or iPad’s display, Night Shift mode makes using your iOS device at night and in dark settings easier on your eyes.

Research has shown that by reducing the blue light emitted from a backlit display, it can become easier to fall asleep at night. Apple was very careful in its wording during yesterday’s iPhone SE event, letting us know that not everyone would enjoy similar results. That said, I’ve personally had good experience with like-minded utilities. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to get started with Night Shift on iOS 9.3.

How to enable Night Shift on iOS 9.3

There are several ways to enable Night Shift on iOS 9.3

  • Enable manually via Control Center toggle
  • Enable manually via Settings → Display & Brightness → Night Shift
  • Enable via Siri by saying “Enable Night Shift”
  • Use automatic scheduling

Adjusting color temperature

Users are able to manually adjust the color temperature used by Night Shift by going into Settings → Display & Brightness → Night Shift and using the slider under the Color Temperature heading.

Night Shift Color Temperature

By sliding the slider towards the Less Warm side, users can opt for a cooler display temperature. The opposite is true when adjusting the slider towards the More Warm temperature setting.

Apple warns that adjusting the color temperature more than halfway towards the warm side of the spectrum could affect the appearance of some on-screen motion. Basically, the screen will look really yellow, almost orange, when the color temperature is set to its warmest setting.

Video walkthrough

Scheduling Night Shift

Night Shift Schedule Switch

Users have the option of taking advantage of Night Shift scheduling by enabling the Scheduled switch in Settings → Display & Brightness → Night Shift. You can choose to schedule Night Shift to trigger between a specific time, or you can opt to use Sunrise through Sunset scheduling. Night Shift will calculate the time in your area by using Location Services and your iOS device’s clock/timezone settings. If you encounter issues with getting the Sunset to Sunrise option to appear, check out Benjamin Mayo’s post to find out the fix.

Night Shift Scheduling

Contrary to some beliefs, there is a color temperature transition when using Night Shift on a schedule. There is usually about a ~2 minute window between the Night Shift scheduled start/stop time and when it’s fully engaged/disengaged. In other words, Night Shift doesn’t abruptly change the look of your display unless you use the manual options for control.

Manually enabling Night Shift

Night Shift Control Center Toggle

You can also manually enable Night Shift, which is sure to be a popular option for many. Manually enabling Night Shift is easy to do via the dedicated Control Center toggle, but as mentioned, it can also be done via Settings → Display & Brightness → Night Shift and using the Manually Enable Until Tomorrow switch.

Manually Enable Until Tomorrow Night Shift

Conflict with Low Power Mode

When you enable Low Power Mode, Night Shift mode is automatically disabled. While Low Power Mode is enabled, Night Shift cannot be turned on manually via its Control Center toggle, and access to its preference panel in the stock Settings app is completely restricted.

That said, it’s still possible to use Night Shift Mode in concert with Low Power Mode by using Siri. Check out this handy tutorial to find out how.


Night Shift is a welcomed addition to iOS 9.3, and I find that it really works. I’ve long been a big fan of similar technology, and I’ve been a f.lux user on Mac for years.

If you happen to use your iPhone or iPad a lot at night, then I highly recommend giving Night Shift a try. Don’t be too turned off by the yellowish tint, as you’ll get used to it with repeated use. Your eyes will likely thank you as well.

How-To: Set up and use Night Shift mode on iPhone and iPad [Video] – 9 to 5 Mac