One year after introducing Night Shift on the iPhone and iPad, Apple is bringing its display color temperature feature to the Mac starting with macOS 10.12.4. Here’s how to enable Night Shift on your Mac and how it works.
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This is how Apple describes its Night Shift feature:
Night Shift adjusts the color of your display after sunset. Many studies show that exposure to bright-blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. After sunset, Night Shift will shift your display colors to the warmer end of the spectrum, making the display easier on your eyes. In the morning, your display returns to its regular settings.
The feature is very similar to Flux for Mac, although macOS Sierra’s upcoming update makes color temperature shifting a system-level feature. You’ll still get more customization out of Flux like the ability to gradually increase warmth over time, but Night Shift is built-in and very easy to use.
Your Mac will need macOS 10.12.4 or later to work with Night Shift. macOS 10.12.4 is currently in developer beta and a public beta is likely around the corner; the software update will be available to all users later this year.
From there, you can manually toggle Night Shift on and off from the Today view in Notification Center. In other words, click on the icon in the top right corner of your screen, then click Today at the top of the slide over panel.
Night Shift’s toggle is a bit hidden here. You have to swipe or scroll down to reveal the button which is right above the Do Not Disturb toggle found above the date.
If you want to tweak Night Shift settings, launch the System Preferences app and open the Displays section. Night Shift has its own section on macOS 10.12.4 or later.
Night Shift can be manually enabled or disabled, scheduled based on time of day or sunset/sunrise, and manually adjusted to appear warmer. My preference is to enable Night Shift automatically from sunset to sunrise. You can still manually toggle Night Shift on or off as needed too.
Night Shift can also be toggled on and off with your voice using Siri. Activate Siri and use a command like “Turn on Night Shift” or “Turn off Night Shift” to enable or disable the feature.
If you have Night Shift set to a schedule, manually changing the state will work until the schedule is set to resume. For example, if you enable Night Shift during the day before sunrise and it was already set to turn on at sunset, Night Shift will remain enabled until sunrise and resume its schedule.
One place you won’t find a Night Shift toggle yet that you might expect is the Touch Bar on new MacBook Pros. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this change in future versions of the macOS software as Do Not Disturb is already an option and can similarly be scheduled or toggled.
So how does Night Shift look on a Mac? Here’s my MacBook Pro without Night Shift:
And here’s my MacBook Pro with Night Shift:
Here’s a side-by-side:
Night Shift isn’t just limited to your Mac’s built-in display. Apple’s color temperature shifting feature also applies to connected external displays as well based on your Mac’s settings.
Overall, Night Shift for Mac is very similar to the same feature introduced to iPhones and iPads this time last year. If you find the concept of Flux for Mac useful but don’t like fiddling with wonky utilities, Night Shift for Mac delivers a similar effect with easy-to-understand options.
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