iPhone and iPad

Use Your iPhone at Night? Tips and Apps for Embracing Dark Mode

Lori Kaufman 04-10-2017

Looking at your phone’s bright screen in the dark can cause eye strain, and even keep you awake at night. A night mode or dark theme can help reduce the strain on your eyes, and even replace the blue tint of your screen with a warmer one to simulate the setting sun.


You can use these tricks to make using your Mac at night a more pleasant experience Use a Mac at Night? Night Shift and Other Apps That Can Save Your Eyes Apple just dropped the latest macOS Sierra update with relatively few changes apart from one standout feature: Night Shift. Read More , but what about your iPhone? We’ve all been waiting for Apple to add Dark Mode to iOS for years, but even with the arrival iOS 11 it’s still missing.

However, there are some workarounds that we’ll cover today.

Turn On Auto-Brightness

Auto-Brightness is not really a dark mode, but it can help make looking at the screen in various levels of light easier on your eyes. It adjusts the brightness of your phone’s screen based on the lighting in your environment.

In a dark room, the screen gets a lot dimmer automatically. If you move your phone under a lamp in that dark room, the screen brightens.

To turn on Auto-Brightness, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations. Tap the Auto-Brightness slider button to turn it on (turns green).


ios dark mode turn on auto brightness

While Auto-Brightness is on, you can still manually adjust the brightness of the screen. The quickest way of doing this is via Control Center: flick up on your iPhone, or double-tap the home button on an iPad, and move the slider. You can also head to Settings > Display & Brightness.

ios dark mode adjust brightness

To return to the automatically adjusted Brightness level, turn Auto-Brightness off and then back on.


Use Night Shift

Night Shift on iOS is like f.lux on the Mac Use F.lux To Sleep Better After Late-Night Computer Activities If you look carefully, most of LCD monitors have a button to automatically change the attributes of the screen to adjust for the types of media which is being viewed. Read More . It adjusts the display on your iPhone to remove the blues in place of warmer colors, automatically or based on a schedule of your choosing. It’s useful at night when looking at the screen in the dark or low-light conditions.

When Night Shift was first included in iOS 9.3, it was a small toggle in the Control Center. They emphasized the feature in iOS 10, where it had its own row in the Control Center with a big “Night Shift” label.

Now, in iOS 11, they’ve buried the toggle in the new Control Center What's New in iOS 11? The New Features Coming to Your iPhone Here's everything coming to your iPhone and iPad with the arrival of iOS 11 later in 2017. Read More . To manually turn on Night Shift, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center. If you have an iPhone 6s or later, use 3D Touch on the Brightness level. Otherwise, long-press on the Brightness slider.

ios dark mode 3d touch on brightness slider


The slider expands to full screen and you’ll find the Night Shift toggle button under it.

ios dark mode turn on night shift

To access the settings for Night Shift, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift. Here, you can turn on Scheduled to set a schedule for when Night Shift will turn on and off. You can also Manually Enable Until Tomorrow and adjust the Color Temperature.

ios dark mode night shift settings


Night Shift gives your screen an orange tint which may not be to everyone’s liking.

Enable Dark Mode on Your iPhone

If you don’t like the orange tint from Night Shift mode, there is a way of getting Dark Mode on your iPhone.

Dark Mode essentially inverts the colors on the screen, making a black background with white or light gray text. The ability to invert colors has been part of iOS for a long time as the Classic Invert option. Apple has now added a new option to iOS 11 called Smart Invert.

Smart Invert reverses the colors of the iPhone’s display, just like the Classic Invert has done. But this new inverted mode doesn’t reverse everything. It doesn’t reverse images, media, and some apps that use dark color styles, as it says below the option.

To enable Smart Invert, go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Display Accommodations. Next, turn on the Smart Invert slider button.

ios dark mode turn on smart invert

Enable Dark Mode in Firefox

If you like to surf the web in bed before falling asleep, you can use the free Firefox browser and its Night Mode feature. To turn it on, tap the menu button at the bottom of the screen.

ios dark mode firefox menu button

Swipe left on the menu popup.

ios dark mode swipe left firefox menu

Next, tap Night Mode.

ios dark mode firefox night mode

The main portion of the browsing window darkens, but the tab bar does not.

ios dark mode night mode firefox enable

The Dolphin browser also has a Night Mode feature.

Enable Dark Mode in Safari (Reader Mode Only)

Safari on iOS 15 Essential Safari iOS Tips & Tricks for iPhone Users A surprising number of useful actions in Safari on iOS are hidden behind long presses, gestures, and 3D Touch. Read More does not have an official Dark Mode or dark theme. But there is workaround to get a Dark Mode in Safari.

Navigate to an article you want to read and tap the Reader View button on the left side of the address bar.

ios dark mode tap reader view button safari

Next, tap the font icon on the right side of the address bar.

ios dark mode tap font button safari

Right above the list of fonts, tap the black circle.

ios dark mode tap black circle safari

The background turns black and the text turns light gray. Tap anywhere off the popup font window to close it.

ios dark mode black theme selected safari

As you scroll, all you’ll see is the black background and the gray text in Reader View. The images are not reversed. They display in their normal colors on the black background.

Turn off Reader View to go back to the normal light mode.

ios dark mode reading article safari black theme

Enable a Dark Mode in Third-Party Apps

Third-party apps also offer their own versions of Dark Mode or a dark theme. For example, when you have a book open, you can tap the middle of the screen and then tap the font icon at the top. A popup window displays allowing you to change the font, the font size, the spacing, and justification.

On the same window, you can tap the Black box to make the background in the any book you open black and the text white.

ios dark mode change color scheme kindle app

Give Your Eyes a Break

Look for a Dark Mode or dark theme in other apps you use at night on your iPhone. Your eyes will thank you.

Have you discovered other ways to enable a Dark Mode or Dark Theme on your iPhone? What other apps have you used Night Mode in? Let us know your discoveries and experiences in the comments.

Image Credit: anabgd/Depositphotos

Related topics: iOS 11, Night Mode, Reading, Safari Browser.

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