Very short one today, but with so many people chilling at home right now (and screentime jumping massively as a result), it seems like a good time to share this tip:
Please go download a blue light filter onto your devices!
What is a blue light filter?
A blue light filter is an application (or in some cases, a factory phone setting) that allows you to toggle your phone screen to completely cut out the blue light.
Here’s a photo comparison to show what I mean:
OK…what’s the point of making my screen a weird color?
In short, blue light is harsh on your eyes. There have already been numerous scientific studies finding that the piercing blue light from electronic screens can:
- Wreck our sleeping patterns
- Damage to our retinas over long periods
- Potentially lead to vision loss through macular degeneration
This is pretty scary stuff. I won’t get too deep in these specifics, but to read more from an actual doctor, here’s a great article on the subject.
Basically, we know that blue light is harmful for our eyes, the only question is how harmful.
Our generation is a collective guinea pig, being the first ever to spend our entire lives with our eyeballs glued to electronic screens.
Plus, if you’re the conspiracy theory type, here’s a fun one for you:
There is a shitload of money being made by tech companies that rely on people staring at screens all day. These corporations probably have some incentive to keep negative information on the subject muzzled, do they not?
For these reasons, I have downloaded a blue light filter onto every screen I use regularly.
Let’s explore our options:
Which blue light filter should I download?
Note: This information will likely change in the future, since device manufacturers are beginning to add these features as standard. But for now, pretty much all of these factory-included featured are trash. Here are your best options. (All are non-affiliate links.)
Most Androids (including my Galaxy S6) come with a “Blue Light Filter” under Settings –> Display. Unfortunately, this feature is severely lacking.
It doesn’t have any options for different colors or tones, so I’ve opted to use a third-party app that does a much better job: Twilight.
I’ve used Twilight for over 5 years, and it’s worked like a charm since day 1.
Windows 10 and above have a “Night Light” feature where you can adjust the color-warmth settings, but it’s a bit of a pain to go through the control panel settings every time you want to make adjustments.
I recommend Flux. I’ve used Flux for over 5 years (on both my laptop and multiple work computers), so I can vouch for its reliability and ease of use.
Like on Android, iPhone has created its own blue light filter, called Night Shift. Unfortunately, it sucks just as much as Android’s included setting. (Its only option is a weird neon-green color, which is barely an improvement from the normal lighting in my opinion.)
The problem is, Apple doesn’t allow apps on the main app store that alter your screen, so it’ll take a bit of a workaround.
Here are your 3 options:
- Stick with the built-in feature, and call it good (it’s better than nothing)
Here’s how to set up Night Shift:Go to Settings > Display & Brightness and scroll down to the “Night Shift” menu. From there, you can set up a schedule for when you’d like Night Shift to engage, and adjust the temperature settings.
- Jump through a couple of hoops to download a much better third-party app. Iris is the most widely-used one, you can follow the instructions on this video to get that loaded up.
- If your iPhone is jailbroken, get Flux. This is the best option of the 3, as it has better functionality than both Night Shift and Iris, plus it’s free. Follow these instructions to download Flux.
Like on iPhone, Macs come standard with the Night Shift feature, but it’s pretty bad. If you want a dedicated app that has far more presets and coloration options, check out Flux via the link below.
As you can probably guess, most TVs (at least currently) don’t have ways to download apps or add-ons.
However, pretty much every TV out there has options for adjusting picture settings, so you can change the light temperature, or at the very least reduce the brightness.
If you can’t find it in the settings, just google your TV model, followed by “picture settings.”
I’m more paranoid than most when it comes to lowering screen brightnesses. (When I worked at Tesla, I’d literally turn down the brightness on the dashboard screens while setting them up for customers- about a 3 minute process…)
But, I’ll always stand by the following reasoning:
If I can easily eliminate a variable from my routine that has even a 1% chance of being bad for me, why not change it?
Since downloading these blue light filters onto EVERY screen I use regularly (phone, laptop, work computers, etc.) back in 2015, I have noticed a measurable improvement in my sleep quality and day-to-day eye strain.
Plus, beyond these tangible differences, I just feel better mentally knowing that I’m lowering my participation in the blue light experiment.
Agree? Give a blue light filter a try!
Looking forward to hearing how it goes for you.