Operating systems determine a person’s overall experience with a certain gadget. From smartphones and tablets to computers and laptops, the OS is at the core of their operation. And Apple knows very well how their trademark iOS sets them apart from the rest.
If you are a fan and avid user of the Apple brand, you must have loved the night shift feature on your iPhone. It gives you an option to reduce blue light exposure and somehow protect your health in the process. And now, the company equipped their Mac line with this feature. They shared this news as they unveiled the latest operating system of their computer – the MacOS 10.12.4.
Apple released the latest version of its computer operating system today, MacOS 10.12.4. One the new features included in the update is called “Night Shift,” which first appeared on iOS mobile devices in 2016. It allows users to adjust the color temperature of their device’s display, turning down the amount of blue light, and making the screen look warmer. This, theoretically, puts less strain on your eyes when looking at the screen in low light, or at night. While Apple has said it could potentially help you get “a better night’s sleep,” it’s not entirely clear whether that is the case.
While nothing much has changed with the OS update, Mac users are thrilled to finally have this feature when using an Apple computer at night.
Apple has just released macOS 10.12.4, the fourth major update for Sierra since the operating system was released last September. In addition to the typical bug fixes and security patches, the update brings over one minor feature from iOS: Night Shift, which can subtly change your screen's color from a cooler blue tone to warmer yellow tones in an effort to help you sleep better. The feature requires a Mac from 2012 or later.
Night Shift was originally introduced in iOS 9.3 about a year ago. Since then, Google has added a similar feature to Android 7.0, and Microsoft is going to include a version of it in the imminent Windows 10 Creators Update. On Android, Windows, and macOS, the feature is arguably less necessary, since third-party apps like f.lux can fill the gap. Still, it's convenient to have it integrated into the OS itself and officially supported by the companies, if only because it will prevent the feature from breaking when new updates come out.
But it seems that the Night Shift somehow fell short of its glory. Experts claim that the integration of the Night Shift feature on the MacOS was not able to deliver its promise.
While at first glance it appeared Apple’s take on adjusting the display’s color and lighting would ‘sherlock‘ f.lux, that doesn’t appear to be the case. In the post shared today, a member of the f.lux team shared some data to show why.
From Apple’s Night Shift support page:
Studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. Night Shift uses your computer’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. It then automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum. In the morning it returns the display to its regular settings.
According to f.lux, the problem with Night Shift’s implementation is that they are not reducing the blue light levels enough. A color intensity chart shows that Night Shift barely reduces the blue light levels right before a user’s typical bedtime.
In Night Shift’s version of color adjustment, there is still a significant amount of blue light present. This looks different to f.lux’s own implementation which brings down the blue light levels dramatically.
Now that Mac users finally have this option on their hands, let us wait and see if Apple can iron out the flaws of the operating system and fully deliver the benefit that the Night Shift feature in an iPhone does. The flaws data wise can be taken care of, but it is important to note that overexposure to blue light is not good for our health. And we appreciate the company’s effort in considering this when creating gadgets that we use in our daily life so that our health does not suffer that much over time as we continue to use their products.
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