With the release of iOS 9.3 yesterday, Apple included a major new feature that may help you sleep better at night: Night Shift. Night Shift works by changing the color temperature of your screen gradually as the day changes. In Control Center, you can toggle this feature on and off manually. In Settings, you can setup iOS 9.3’s Night Shift so that it automatically shifts the blue light of your iPhone or iPad screen with a schedule. The schedule options are either preset times set by the user or an automatic schedule based on sunrise and sunset.

However, after updating to iOS 9.3, some users have complained that the automatic Sunrise/Sunset option is not available for their devices. It turns out this is not a bug, or limited to certain countries as people suggest. In fact there is a simple fix …

The Night Shift Sunrise and Sunset schedule uses Location Services to determine the timezone of the device, allowing it to calculate the right times to turn the feature on and off. Anything to do with Location Services is controlled by Privacy toggles in Settings. It turns out that some iOS users had turned off the ‘Setting Time Zone’ permission before updating to iOS 9.3, which means the Sunrise/Sunset feature is not possible and thus does not show in the settings pane. Luckily, it’s simple to re-enable it and gain access to full Night Shift functionality in iOS 9.3

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Location Services.
  4. Scroll down and tap System Services.
  5. Find the toggle for ‘Setting Time Zone’. Enable it if it is disabled.
  6. Return to Night Shift settings and the Sunrise/Sunset schedule will now be available!

It’s unfortunate that Night Shift settings do not explain the necessity for the Setting Time Zone option upfront. However, users will be glad to know that getting access to that feature is as simple as flicking a toggle. Here’s a walkthrough by screenshots … if the process needs to be made plainer.

Note that Night Shift will not appear at all for older iOS devices. The feature requires certain hardware — it does not work on every device that runs iOS 9.3.  Night Shift is available on iPhone 5s and later, iPad Pro 9.7 or iPad Pro 12.9 inch, iPad Air and later, iPad mini 2 and later, as well as the sixth-generation iPod touch.

Update: We have received some reports that toggling the Setting Time Zone Privacy option does not immediately unlock the Sunrise/Sunset schedule. If this happens to you on a compatible iOS 9.3 device, toggle the Privacy option and then do a hard reboot of the iPhone or iPad. The Sunrise/Sunset schedule should be visible when the device boots back up.

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About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.