Accessibility

Multiple phones and tablets all switching over to black screens for dark mode use.

Dark Mode and Night Shift on the iPhone and iPad

Many of us in the macular degeneration community already use Night Shift on our smartphones. The one where the screen can be changed from a bright blue light to a much warmer colour, thereby saving our eyes from some of the dangers of the blue light. I hope everyone has enabled it. The warmer light is also said to cause less eye strain, although I suspect just spending less time on the screen might be a better idea. Night Shift also slightly lessens the effect of melatonin suppression which would help with sleep. Have you noticed the newer cars now have blue electronics? Supposed to keep us more alert!

What is Dark Mode?

But did anyone notice Apple gave us the opportunity to have Dark Mode on our iPhones and iPads? It was included with the latest update in the fall. If you have an iPhone newer than the X with an OLED display, it will also save battery power.

Easier to read

Dark Mode inverts the display to a predominantly black background, which so far I find much easier to read. It seems to be sharper with more contrast. Most of the Apple apps and menus can be in dark mode, but some apps are not able to be flipped to dark mode. For the ones that can, it makes a big difference.

Ease eye strain and reduce blue light

For those of us with macular degeneration, this change might cut down on the amount of blue light we absorb as well as helping to ease eye strain and fatigue. Another bonus is we wouldn’t notice floaters on a black background!

How dark mode impacts certain apps

I use the Notes app frequently and find it easier to read with white on black; the same with my contact list. I no longer have to squint and work to determine if a number is a 6 or an 8. The  Messages app inverts, but iMessage doesn’t, as it’s part of Facebook. The display can be inverted in the iMessage app itself; the same with Kindle. Not as easy, but not difficult.

The only downside is when I open a page in Safari or Chrome, the glare of the white page is a shock after reading on black, even with Night Shift turned on. Same with Facebook. Now if we could only flip those website pages to Dark Mode, we’d have it made!

Not for everyone

This option for viewing might not be for everyone. Some people might find Dark Mode is only good in low light situations while others may think it helps in all lights. I think it would also depend on which apps and features of your iPhone or iPad you use most.

How to turn on Dark Mode and Night Shift

To access both Night Shift or Dark Mode:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Display and Brightness
  3. Tap the appropriate buttons

They both can be turned on manually or be scheduled for custom times. And yes, you can have both on at the same time. Or the easy way: just ask Siri!

Android phones

Android phones have a similar program. On the Samsung, Dark Mode is called Night Mode and Night Shift is the Blue Light Filter. I’m hoping someone who knows them will tell us more about those.

But please remember I’m definitely not an expert, not even close! Just something I found interesting and thought worth sharing. Have you tried Dark Mode yet? If so, or you just like the idea, please share your thoughts in the comments.

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