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Use Night Shift on your Mac and get a better night's sleep

But is it better than Flux?


Staring at a blue screen before bed, whether it be a phone, tablet or laptop, can shift your body's natural clock and make it difficult to get a good night's sleep. With Apple's Night Shift feature, the colors of your display are shifted to the warmer end of the spectrum during the evening hours.

Night Shift has been a part of iPhones and iPads since iOS 9.3, and it was added to Macs earlier this year with MacOS Sierra 10.12.4. Once you start using it, you'll wonder how you ever stared at such a blue-hued screen at night. If, however, like many Mac (and Windows) users, you are already using a free app called Flux to warm up the color temp of your display at night, then the question becomes, which color-shifting, good-sleep-inducing app is better?

In Flux's favor

After giving Night Shift a fair shake, I'm sticking with Flux for the simple fact that it offers an extra phase for shifting the color temperature and gradual transitions.

With Flux, you get three phases: daytime, sunset and bedtime. With Night Shift, it's either on or off, missing out on that middle phase that eases you toward the darkest hours. Also, Flux sets the transitions between its three phases to be gradual by default, letting your eyes adjust if you are in front of your screen during one of the transition times.

Matt Elliott/CNET

Taking Night Shift to bed

Night Shift isn't without its settings and customizations, which you'll find in a new Night Shift tab in System Preferences > Displays. Like Flux, you can set Night Shift to come on from sunset to sunrise, or you can also manually set the time period for it to be active. Also like Flux, Night Shift provides a slider to adjust the color temperature of the effect between less warm and more.

Matt Elliott/CNET

You can enable and disable Night Shift from the Notification Center but it's somewhat hidden. From either the Today or Notifications view, you need to swipe up to reveal the toggle switch for Night Shift. It's just above the toggle for Do Not Disturb.

Matt Elliott/CNET