Be a con­sid­er­ate late-night iPad/iPhone user

Ben Pat­ter­son ex­plains how to beep your iOS de­vice dark and quiet by switch­ing to dark mode in Sa­fari, and more

Macworld - - Contents -

There’s noth­ing like a late-night chap­ter of a Kin­dle book to put me right to sleep, but the glow of my iPhone’s screen tends to keep my wife awake – and if a jar­ring iOS no­ti­fi­ca­tion sounds or buzzes, well, that doesn’t help her sleep.

While the new Night Shift mode (which fi­nally works even when iOS’s low-power mode is en­abled) will sup­pos­edly help you sleep by fil­ter­ing out the bright­est colours from your iPhone or iPad’s

dis­play, it won’t do much good for a bed­fel­low who sleeps best in to­tal dark­ness and si­lence.

I’ve col­lected a quar­tet of tips that’ll take Night Shift one step fur­ther by dim­ming your iPhone or iPad screen as much as pos­si­ble while you read, as well as si­lenc­ing any in­tru­sive alerts or buzzes.

Browse the web in dark mode

Even with Night Shift mode turned on, your iPhone or iPad dis­play will still throw off an im­pres­sive amount of light dur­ing a late-night web-brows­ing ses­sions. If you want to wade into an epic fea­ture story on the Sa­fari web browser with­out keep­ing your sig­nif­i­cant other awake, here’s a handy trick.

First, ac­ti­vate Sa­fari’s Reader mode by tap­ping the three-line but­ton at the left end of the ad­dress bar. Reader mode strips out ex­tra­ne­ous page el­e­ments while keep­ing the text in­tact, al­though it won’t do much to dim the screen… well, not yet, any­way. Next, with Reader mode ac­ti­vated, tap the font but­ton in the right side of the ad­dress bar (it’s the ‘a A’ one), then tap the dark, right-most cir­cle in the pop-up win­dow. That’s it. Your read­er­friendly web page will have switched to white text on a dark back­ground, slash­ing the bright­ness of your screen in the process.

Turn on dark mode in iBooks, Kin­dle and other ded­i­cated reader apps

If curl­ing up with a good dig­i­tal book is your favourite way to fall asleep, there’s an easy way to do it with­out light­ing up the bed­room late at night.

If you’re crack­ing open an iBook, tap the font but­ton in the top cor­ner of the screen (the same

‘aA’ but­ton as in Sa­fari) and tap the dark­est cir­cle for white text on a black back­ground. There’s also an Auto-Night Theme set­ting that au­to­mat­i­cally turns on night mode if the iPhone or iPad’s am­bi­ent light sen­sor thinks it’s dark enough.

Got the Kin­dle app? Tap the ‘aA’ but­ton in the bot­tom cor­ner of the screen and tap the big Black but­ton for white text on a dark back­ground. The Kin­dle app also has its own screen bright­ness slider that works in­de­pen­dently of the main iOS bright­ness set­ting, per­fect for mak­ing the screen ul­tra-dim.

Many other pop­u­lar iOS read­ers have their own night modes, too. For ex­am­ple, you can tap the ‘aA’ but­ton in In­stapa­per to change the back­ground set­ting; same thing in Reeder (the ex­cel­lent iOS RSS reader). For Pocker, tap the three-dot but­ton in the bot­tom cor­ner of the screen, then tap Dis­play Set­tings.

Un­for­tu­nately, not all read­ing apps have a night mode, in­clud­ing some of the most pop­u­lar news­pa­per and mag­a­zine apps. You’ll also strike out if you’re look­ing for a night-mode set­ting in the Mail app, mean­ing you’ll be light­ing up the whole room while check­ing your in­box.

Re­verse the colours on the screen

There is a way, how­ever, to be a con­sid­er­ate late-night iPhone or iPad reader even when there’s no dark-mode fea­ture in sight.

Tap Set­tings → Gen­eral → Ac­ces­si­bil­ity, then tog­gle on the In­vert Colours set­ting. When you do, all the colours on your iOS dis­play will re­verse them­selves, re­sult­ing in some in­ter­est­ing vi­su­als

on the home screen and in your pho­tos al­bums. That’s great, but be­yond its nov­elty value, the In­vert Colours set­ting also acts as a de facto night mode. Jump to your Mail in­box, an app, or any web page in Sa­fari that doesn’t sup­port Reader mode, and you’ll see what I mean; yes, we’re talk­ing white let­ters on a dark back­ground.

You don’t need to jump through three iOS set­tings screens to get to the In­vert Colours tog­gle. In­stead, just set up a short­cut. Tap Set­tings → Gen­eral → Ac­ces­si­bil­ity, scroll all the way down and tap Ac­ces­si­bil­ity Short­cut, then se­lect In­vert Colours. Now, just triple-press the Home key to turn the In­vert Colours set­ting on and off.

Turn off si­lence-shat­ter­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tions

It’s late at night, you’re read­ing your iPhone with a dark-mode set­ting on and your part­ner is doz­ing contentedly be­side you.

All is well with the world, and then, with­out warn­ing, your iPhone buzzes to re­mind you of a friend’s birth­day to­mor­row, and now your bed­mate is stir­ring. But wait, you have Do Not Dis­turb mode en­abled. How did that hap­pen?

Even when it’s ac­tive, iOS’s Do Not Dis­turb mode will still al­low no­ti­fi­ca­tions and alerts to fire when your iPhone or iPad is un­locked. That’s handy if you’re ex­pect­ing an im­por­tant call or iMes­sage, but not when you’re try­ing to read with­out mak­ing a peep. Tap Set­tings → Do Not Dis­turb, scroll down to the Si­lence set­ting, then check the Al­ways op­tion. Once that’s done, Do Not Dis­turb mode will muz­zle all iOS no­ti­fi­ca­tions even when your iPhone or iPad is un­locked.

Un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances, Do Not Dis­turb mode may let a call through even with Al­ways se­lected un­der the Si­lence set­ting. Tap Set­tings → Do Not Dis­turb, then check your Al­low Calls From and Re­peated Calls set­tings. If you don’t want any calls get­ting through, change the Al­low Calls From set­ting to No One and turn off Re­peated Calls.

iOS’s In­vert Colours set­ting re­sults in in­ter­est­ing-look­ing im­ages, but it also makes for a handy, de facto dark mode

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