An Apple Insider report details the new Night Shift Mode introduced in iOS 9.3, a feature that aims to improve sleep.
It’s easy to dismiss Apple’s new Night Shift mode — introduced in iOS 9.3 — as a gimmicky bolt-on, but it’s actually a helpful feature rooted in years of sleep science.
Night Shift performs essentially the same function on iOS devices as desktop apps like f.lux long have on the Mac: as your bed time approaches, it automatically shifts the color temperature of your display toward the warmer end of the spectrum. You might not know what color temperature is, exactly, but you’ve probably heard of it — whenever someone describes a smartphone display as “more yellow” or “more blue,” they’re talking about its color temperature.
Just like traditional color theory, color temperature in lighting is expressed on a warm-to-cool scale. Yellows and reds are warm, while blues and whites are cool.
LED-based lightbulbs are a great analog: LED bulbs that appear harsh white have a cool temperature, while those that seem more like a traditional incandescent bulb are warmer.
So why does this matter to Apple? Because years of scientific research has concluded that light has a noticeable impact on brain function, especially sleep.
Human beings fall asleep courtesy of a chemical called melatonin. Meltaonin is light-sensitive; when your eyes detect light, melatonin production is suppressed, making it more difficult to nod off.