Tired of your iPhone screen making it tougher for you to go to sleep? Apple’s next iOS update may have a fix for you. The company’s developer site says iOS 9.3, the next version of its mobile software, will include a feature called Night Shift that changes the display to make it “easier on your eyes” before you go to bed. Study after study after study has shown that light given off by electronics affects our sleep. The main issue is the blue light from LED screens can slow or halt the production of melatonin, the hormone that signals our brain that it’s time for bed.
Night Shift uses your device’s clock and location to determine when it’s sunset, Apple said on its developer site. It automatically changes the colors in the screen “to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes.” In the morning, the display goes back to normal. For now, iOS 9.3 is only available to developers. Apple didn’t specify when iOS 9.3 will be released to non-beta users.
Apple isn’t the only company to take steps to make nighttime reading easier. Fire tablet maker Amazon last month introduced Blue Shade, a feature that can adjust a tablet display to reduce blue-light exposure. It also lets users add warm color filters to the display, lowering the brightness to a new ultra-low level that Amazon claims is still comfortable for nighttime reading.
Apple introduced iOS 9 in September, just in time for the introduction of its iPhone 6S and 6S Plus smartphones. The Cupertino, California, company makes one big iOS release a year and makes smaller updates throughout the year. Apple needs to keep the system fresh to maintain customers’ interest in its products and to ensure that software developers keep making apps for its devices. The refreshes are also vital to keep Apple in step with competitors like Google. Predictive technologies in iOS 9 serve as a counter to the predictive capabilities that Google Now and Google Now On Tap can deliver to Android device users.
Other new features in iOS 9.3 include a Notes app update that lets you secure notes like financial details or medical information with a password or fingerprint and sort notes by date created, date modified or alphabetical order. Apple also tweaked its News app to deliver more personalized articles, and its Health software makes it easier to find third-party apps.