Use a Mac at Night? Save Your Eyes & Sanity with Flux
If you use your Mac at night or in the dark, you need to do your eyes and brain a favor by downloading Flux. The idea behind Flux is simple; when the sun is down you shouldn’t be staring at the immensely bright computer screen, whose intensity is made to emit as much light as possible and practically mimic sunlight. Instead, your displays lighting should become warmer and softer, mimicking the lighting in your room.
Settings are simple, set your location (or zip code) and what kind of lighting your computer is located in, and set the lighting transition speed. Flux does the rest, at sundown your display becomes warmer and easier on the eyes, and at sunrise the display is back to its bright usual self.
What does Flux look like on the Mac?
You can’t really take a screenshot of the changes to offer a demonstration, so I cast a light sepia hue on a screenshot to give you an idea of the subtle change. Default is on the left, and Flux adjusted is on the right:
The difference is entirely in overall warmth of the screen, but the intensity of that warmth depends on your lighting settings in the app. And yes, you can disable the app at any time, or set it to turn off for an hour if you’re going to do color sensitive work. That is done just by pulling open the Flux menu and selecting to “Disable for an hour”.
Flux Reduces Eye Strain & Eye Fatigue… and Helps Sleep?
I’ve been using Flux for the past week and I can say that it has absolutely helped to reduce eye fatigue on late nights in front of my Mac. I let Flux adjust the displays warmth, and then I manually adjust the display brightness to a lower level, the two combine to offer a much more enjoyable experience when reading or spending hours in front of a screen late into the evenings.
Now I don’t know if it has helped my sleeping at all, but the developers of Flux suggest that reducing your exposure to ‘blue lighting’ (the default intense lighting put off by a computer display) may improve your ability to sleep. It’s a decent theory, and it looks like they’re interested in researching it further. To add further clout to that theory, the American Medical Association actually has done research on exposure to bright lights, and concluded that it can cause sleep issues:
“Recognizes that exposure to excessive light at night, including extended use of various electronic media, can disrupt sleep or exacerbate sleep disorders, especially in children and adolescents. This effect can be minimized by using dim red lighting in the nighttime bedroom environment.”
If just offering a more enjoyable evening experience isn’t enough for you, perhaps the potential for improving sleep is a better selling point.
Flux is a free download
Freely available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.
Technically it’s called F.lux, but Flux is a lot easier to type and remember. There is also an iOS version for iPad and iPhone users, but it requires a jailbreak in order to install, thus making it much less practical for the average user.
…but my Mac dims itself and I can control brightness on my own
Sure, most MacBook Pro’s automatically adjust brightness based on ambient lighting, and you can also precisely adjust the displays brightness yourself, but neither of these features change the warmth of the screen, which is what I’ve found makes the biggest difference for late nights at the computer. Give Flux a try yourself, if you use your computer often at night, I think you’ll really appreciate it.