Can you say ‘Pokémon Go?’ For Mac users, the past year or so has seen a number of screen apps hit the market. These are apps that take over your Mac’s screen, adjust the colors on the screen to more accurately reflect the time of day or create a visual ambiance that supposedly helps your eyes. Here’s another one.
NightShift, Meet NightTone
iPhones and iPads have a built-in utility called Night Shift, an app that can modify the light emitted from the screen, ostensibly to reduce blue light which could impact both eyes and sleep. Mac users have a few choices, too, including the popular f.lux, and a newcomer called NightTone.
It is what you think it is. Yet another Mac app to help your eyes and your sleep by controlling the screen’s color.
NightTone has predefined color palettes which can be activated with a click to adjust the Mac’s screen tones to a more suitable color (ostensibly, to reduce colors which may inhibit sleep).
- Orange – a warm color for working late at night
- Black – a softer, inverted setting good for dark rooms
- Noisy Green – For reading long pages of text
- Silky Blue – For rooms with artificial light
- White – Good for watching movies, or photo work at night
Each of the preset colors also features controls so you can adjust the tone and intensity to a level that is more comfortable for your eyes or lighting. The Mac’s screen can be changed to any color setting you choose, even beyond the presets.
NightTone comes with a built-in scheduler for activation hours; choose the time when you want the screen to display a specific color or preset.
Is there science behind what NightTone does?
The monitor’s blue light tricks our circadian rhythm (our natural body clock) into thinking that it’s daytime. It suppresses melatonin (that sends “time to sleep” cues) and builds up histamine that helps wake us up, boosts attention and reaction times. In other words, it resets that feeling of tiredness and hurts our sleep cycle.
In essence, blue light at night is not good, but NightTone has enough options that you can find any color and time combination that works best for you. Apple has NightShade built-in to iOS 9.x devices for a reason. Personally, I found that a lighter, warmer, not-quite orange color on my iPhone and iPad to be better than simply reducing brightness, so I try to get the same color on my Mac’s screen.
Then I found out my optometrist had blue blocking glasses. NightTone is far less expensive.