How To Use Night Shift For Mac The Right Way

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One of the features that went by nearly unnoticed with the introduction of macOS Sierra in 2016 was Night Shift for Mac. What Mac Night Shift does is it helps alleviate the strain on your eyes when the environment around you gets darker (at night) and also doesn’t block the production of melatonin, which controls the quality of your sleep.

Basically, Night Mode for Mac is like a MacBook blue light filter. It’s distinctly different from the Dark Mode that was released with macOS Mojave. Although Dark Mode is much easier on your eyes at night as well, it’s not a blue light filter for Mac. In fact, Night Shift and Dark Mode are activated separately but could (and should) totally be used in tandem.

In the last few years, more and more Night Shift apps have flooded the market. None of them are featured in the App Store though, as they breach Apple’s sandbox requirements. So be careful trying to download third-party software with Mac blue light filters — better stick with the native Apple offering, which is actually pretty simple and effective.

Similarly, lots of popular web apps, from YouTube to Reddit to Google Chrome itself, now offer their own versions of Dark Mode, which all of us should use at night. Let’s dive in and explore them all.

How To Enable Night Mode On Mac

To start with, it’s important to note that not all older Macs support Night Shift. While you have to be on macOS Mojave to turn it on, you also have to have MacBook Air, Pro, Mac mini, or iMac no earlier than mid-2012; Mac Pro of at least late 2013; or MacBook from 2015 onwards.

Now that you’ve verified your Mac is eligible:

  1. Open System Preferences ➙ Displays
  2. Go to the Night Shift tab
  3. Turn the Schedule to either Custom, if you want to specify when the Night Shift for Mac will be on, or Sunset to Sunrise, in which the Mac Night Shift will turn on automatically at night
  4. Specify the Color Temperature you’d like the Night Shift to use. In the beginning, try to position the slider somewhere between the middle and More Warm.

Turn on night shift on mac

You can activate the Mac blue light filter at any time by swiping two fingers left from the right side of your trackpad to open the Notification Center and then scrolling to the top and setting Night Shift to On.

While you’re making changes in settings, here’s how to enable Dark Mode too if you feel like it:

  1. Navigate to General in System Preferences
  2. Click on Dark in Appearance
  3. Adjust Accent and Highlight colors as you see fit

Turn on dark mode mac

How to turn on Night Mode on YouTube

Among the apps we spend a lot of time in at night, YouTube is probably the winner. Luckily, for some time now they have been offering a Night Mode on their website as well as mobile apps.

To turn on YouTube Night Mode on the web:

  1. Log in to your account at youtube.com
  2. Click on your profile picture in the top-right corner
  3. Select Dark theme and then toggle it on

Youtube night mode

Activating YouTube Night Mode on your iPhone is practically the same:

  1. Tap on the icon of your profile
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Toggle the Dark theme on

Activate Reddit Night Mode in two clicks

Reddit might as well be the number one reason we spend hours going down the rabbit hole instead of sleeping. But if we’re doing it anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to activate the night mode, so at least it’s easier to fall asleep later on.

The best thing about Reddit Night Mode is that it’s available to registered users and guests alike, so you don’t have to create a profile to enjoy it.

To enable Reddit Night Mode:

  1. Go to reddit.com
  2. Click on the profile icon in the top right
  3. Switch Night Mode to on

Reddit night mode

Use Chrome Night Mode for easier browsing

You might ask how about Chrome Night Mode? As of early 2019, the official support for Chrome Night Mode doesn’t exist, although it’s rumored to be included in Chrome 74 (so if this version is already released, check there first). However, there currently are dozens of high-quality plugins that do the job perfectly fine.

As of today, Google Chrome lets third-party developers release two variations of Night Mode: extensions and themes.

Themes have been a Google Chrome staple since forever and basically change the interface color of the app itself. Some of them have even been developed by Google.

Extensions let you change the background color of any webpage, which is the most prevalent element and should have the most effect.

To change either theme or extension to Chrome Night Mode:

  1. Go to Window ➙ Extensions
  2. Click Open Chrome Web Store
  3. Click on Themes, choose Just Black published by Google (or any other one), and click Add to Chrome
  4. Go back, click on Extensions, and search for “dark theme”
  5. Select Add to Chrome on any extension you like (e.g. Dark Theme for Chrome) and then press “Add extension” in the pop-up window

Chrome night mode

Enable dark interface in DCommander

As the most robust file manager around, used frequently at nights in developer environments, DCommander too has released its version of a dark theme.

DCommander features a dual-pane interface that lets you manage files easily side by side and perform quick batch operations while holding everything you need in view. Needless to say, this amount of information gets increasingly hard on your eyes at night.

To activate dark theme in DCommander:

  1. Click on DCommander in menu bar ➙ Preferences
  2. In Overview, switch the dropdown menu to Dark next to User Interface Appearance

DCommander dark interface

Dim out what’s not essential

Now that you have the Night Mode for Mac, along with YouTube, Chrome, Reddit, and DCommander, what else can you do to make work more pleasant at night?

If you have a bright desktop picture or you’re using some apps that don’t feature their own night modes, you can offset their deficiencies with HazeOver.

HazeOver is a brilliant utility that simply lets you keep your current active window in focus and dims the rest of the screen to your liking. It not only helps your eyes adjust better at night but also encourages you to stay concentrated on one task at a time during the day too.

There’s nothing you have to do to use HazeOver besides downloading it. Keep it open in your menu bar, and it will activate automatically.

HazeOver turn on

In the end, besides activating Dark Mode and Night Shift for Mac, explore all the apps you use regularly and see if they have implemented their own versions of night mode. You know that YouTube, Chrome, Reddit, and DCommander already do. And then don’t forget to get HazeOver for total screen dimming control.

Best of all, both DCommander and HazeOver are available to you for free through Setapp, a large platform of more than 150 Mac utilities and apps that can save the day in any circumstance. Now that the evening is coming and you still have lots of work to wrap up, let the Dark Mode do its job!

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