How to Activate “Night Shift” and Apple’s Secret “Inverted Colors” Mode in iOS 11

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With iOS 11, Apple changed up how you activate the Night Mode on your phone. The company originally introduced Night Shift in iOS 9.3 as a way to make screens a little easier on the eyes at night (and help you get some sleep in the process.

Now there are two options for your iPhone: That Night Shift Mode and a new ‘Smart Invert Colors’ mode that expands on an accessibility feature in iOS and makes for a pretty solid nighttime display option.

Here’s how they both work:

Night Shift

If you’re a fan of night modes like me, then you’ve probably already used Night Shift. The feature’s location is changed up a bit in iOS 11. Now instead of having its own dedicated button within the Control Panel, it’s hidden in the brightness slider.

Screenshot: E.Price

To activate it, swipe up from the bottom of the screen on your iPhone to bring up the Control Panel, and then select the brightness slider from the icons that launch. When the slider comes up full screen, you’ll see the Night Shift button at the bottom of the page.

Unlike some other night modes that invert colors, Night Shift just adjusts the amount of blue light your phone is emitting. Some things you look at might even look identical to you to how they do without Night Shift on. The idea behind the feature is that you’re taking in less blue light, which in turn will help you sleep better.

If you want the screen to be dark, then this next feature is for you.

Smart Invert Colors

Apple previously offered an invert colors option in iOS. Designed as an accessibility feature for those might have trouble with the traditional screen, it inverted the colors of everything on the screen. For some people that might be great (I definitely used it), but if you want to keep a few things at full color, then the new Smart Invert Colors option can be a great solution.

Screenshot: E.Price

Unlike the traditional Invert Colors option, it keeps things like photos and graphics in their original format and with their original colors, while inverting the colors of the user interface. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. A lot of things will be darker on the page, but you’ll still be able to look at things like Instagram photos and app icons in their original form.

This feels closer to a “Night” mode for me than Night Shift does.

You can activate the mode by Going into the Settings menu on your phone, selecting General, followed by Accessibility, then Display Accommodations, and then Invert Colors. From there you’ll have the option to choose Smart Invert or Classic Invert.

Besides making things easier to see, I think it’s a pretty cool look for the phone and something you arguably could just leave on if you want.


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