Mac Productivity

Save Your Eyes When Working at Night on Your Mac

Bryan Wolfe 28-10-2016

In recent years, Apple has gotten serious about making our mobile devices easier to read at night, courtesy of Night Shift Can F.lux and Night Shift Really Improve Your Sleep Habits? Excessive use of computers, tablets, and smartphones can lead to deteriorated sleep quality -- but do apps like F.lux and Night Shift really counteract those effects? The science is pretty clear on this. Read More and True Tone (on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro Powerful Things, Small Packages: iPad Pro 9.7" Review For some people, a 12.9" screen is the main draw of Apple's first iPad Pro. For others, size was the main barrier to entry. Read More ). Both solutions adjust the color temperatures on your mobile devices for a more pleasant experience.


On Mac, you still need to rely on non-Apple solutions to protect your eyes during the nighttime hours. Today we’re going to look at the available third-party screen adjustment solutions for Mac.

The Industry Leader: F.lux

The most popular screen calibration solution on the market continues to be f.lux. First introduced in 2009, the free application is available on macOS, Windows, and Linux. With f.lux, your display’s color temperature automatically adjusts according to your location and time of day. In doing so, the program helps to reduce eye strain Can F.lux and Night Shift Really Improve Your Sleep Habits? Excessive use of computers, tablets, and smartphones can lead to deteriorated sleep quality -- but do apps like F.lux and Night Shift really counteract those effects? The science is pretty clear on this. Read More during nighttime use.

How It Works

Computer displays have been designed to emit bright colors that look like the sun. This process is fine during the daytime hours. However, when the real sun goes down for the day, it can cause eye problems and disruption to your sleep.

F.lux Preferences on Mac

With F.lux, your display is constantly adjusting based on the time of day. These transitions are most noticeable at night when the application slowly adds warm colors to the screen while removing blue light. This essentially mimics a sunset, reminding your brain that it’s time to go to sleep soon.


Other Solutions for Mac

Despite F.lux’s dominance, there are other display adjustment solutions How Smart Lighting Affects Your Health (According to Science) Several scientific studies have indicated many influences of lighting on our mental and physical health. Thankfully, smart lighting can help you achieve all of these benefits in just a few simple steps. Read More for Mac. Among the ones worth considering are as follows:


f.lux doesn’t support Chromebook, which is the main reason G.lux exists. On Chromebooks Make an Easy Switch to Chromebook Now (and Never Look Back) I've adopted, studied every Windows OS, adapted, and eventually learned to love each of them for different reasons. Are you curious to know why as of today, I'm a Chromebook guy? Read More , the free application adjusts the entire computer display, just as f.lux does on macOS, Windows, and Linux.

So why use G.lux on Mac? As a Google Chrome add-on on Mac, you can use G.lux to adjust only the colors of your web browser. For this, you can use seven color temperature presets, including tungsten, halogen, fluorescent, daylight, black, white, and custom.

G.lux Preferences on Mac


Most Mac users probably don’t need G.lux because of its web browser limitation. It’s added here because some companies don’t allow end-users to install third-party software on their Macs. Web browser add-ons are sometimes acceptable in these situations.

Turn Off the Lights for Desktop

Designed for simplicity, Turn Off the Light for Desktop ($24.99) is the most expensive solution on our list. Designed to dim your entire desktop at night, the Turn Off the Light for Desktop application also features browser extensions that work with YouTube Is YouTube Premium Worth the Cost? 7 Things You Need to Consider Is YouTube Premium's cost worth it? We look into the pros and cons of YouTube's paid version. Read More , Vimeo, DailyMotion, and more.

Featuring multiple monitor support and one-click adjustments, Turn Off the Light offers some unique options. These include showing a spotlight around your mouse cursor, fade effects, and ability to focus the app in front of the black layer.

Want a freebie? There’s a Turn Off the Lights for Safari extension that dims everything on your web browser background when you’re watching a video.


Turn Off the Lights Mac

With the extension, you can dim videos in various formats including Flash, HTML5, Microsoft Silverlight, Quicktime, and Windows Media Player. You can also use the extension to dim the entire page and to control opacity.

Three Minor Solutions

Available for free, Shady [No Longer Available] reduces your Mac’s brightness below the usual minimum by up to 90 percent. You can perform brightness changes simply by using the computer’s up and down buttons. Want to turn Shady off? Focus the app and hit the Q key on your keyboard.

Shady for Mac


MyPointShade ($2.99) doesn’t adjust your monitor’s settings. Instead, the application places transparent layers on your desktop and running applications.

The application is ideally suited when using multiple screens (up to eight are supported), although it does have a shade level limit of 90 percent.

Redshift is an open source screen adjustment alternative. Like f.lux, the free application adjusts the color temperature based on the time of day. In doing so, it allows your eyes to adapt to the changing conditions.

Redshift on Mac

If all of your computers are macOS-based, there’s no practical reason to using Redshift as opposed to f.lux or a similar application. However, if your collection also includes Linux or Ubuntu-based devices, consider it. Using one application across all devices could be a real benefit.

Or Set Your Own White Point

If you rather not install a third-party screen adjustment solution, you can make manual changes using the built-in Apple Display Calibrator Assistant tool. To do so, go into your Mac’s System Preferences > Displays. From here, switch to Color view and select Calibrate…

White Point on Mac

With the assistant, you can change your screen using a CustomSync profile. Among the settings that you may change are the display’s brightness and contrast, native luminance response curve, desired response curve gamma, and white point (the warmth or coolness of the color white).

The last display adjustment How to Unlock the Hidden Display Resolutions on a Mac By default, your choice in screen resolution is quite limited on a Mac. However, with this one trick, you'll be able to unlock a handful of other resolutions to use. Read More option most relates to the topic of this article. Click Continue to get to the Select a Target White Point screen. Uncheck the box that says Use native white point and then adjust the slider to the left to suit your display preferences. From there, save your profile.

This solution works well, giving you a look similar to what you’d expect from using something like f.lux. However, this only provides for a manual change. You’ll need to change the CustomSync profile to the setting you want, depending on the time of day. If you can’t install additional software on your Mac and you’re after the same effect, it might be worth the hassle though.

Final Thoughts

Mac users have many choices when it comes to automated screen adjustments. Though F.lux remains the gold standard, alternatives do exist. Many of these offer options not available through F.lux.

What Mac software do you use to save your eyes when viewing your screen at night? Leave your comments below.

Related topics: Mac Tricks, MacBook, macOS Sierra.

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  1. Ken Kline
    November 15, 2016 at 11:15 am

    F.lux on my iMac running Mountain Lion is perfect. The seamless transition from daylight to evening + vice versa makes those subtle changes in the screen + menu bar colour which all but eliminates eye strain. Just set F.lux to start at login, enter your location, make any other Preference changes from the F.lux icon in the menu bar, then F.lux takes charge. When I use my iMac in the evening, I can then fall asleep very comfortably.

  2. Pixturesk
    November 15, 2016 at 11:06 am

    F.lux on my iMac running Mountain Lion is perfect. The completely seamless change in both the screen + the Menu Bar colour allows my eyes to adjust easily. Just set F.lux to start at login, set your location, make any other settings from the menu bar F.lux icon, then enjoy. When I work on my iMac in the evening, I am able to fall asleep quite comfortably.

  3. Mio
    October 28, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Simple Screen Shade costs only $1 and works flawlessly on Mac.