Use Reduce White Point in iOS to Subtly Tone Down Harsh Bright Colors
The iOS interface is easily identifiable by it’s ubiquitous usage of whites and bright colors, which can be both pleasing to the eye but also excessively harsh when an iPhone or iPad is used in darker ambient lighting situations. New versions of iOS offer an ability to adjust that bright whiteness with a setting called Reduce White Point, which offers a subtle reduction to the overall brightness of the user interface.
Reduce White Point will shift the display whites (and other colors) ever so slightly towards grey, which has an notable effect that could be described as being similar to an exposure reduction of a picture. Along with darkening text button colors and making text bold to be easier to read, these optional settings can offer an improvement to some users who find the default settings a bit overly stark if not outright harsh on the eyes.
How to Reduce the White Point in iOS 7
Note: the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will need to be updated to iOS 7.1 for this setting to be available.
- Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone or iPad and go to “General”
- Choose “Accessibility” and select “Increase Contrast”
- Flip the toggle next to “Reduce White Point” into the ON position
Toggling this setting produces an instant result, as the white point shifts to become slightly darker and whites move to be closer to a light shade of grey.
What’s the Visual Effect of Reduce White Point?
Because the setting is basically adjusting the display profile on the iPhone or iPad, the change won’t show up in screen shots. We’ve attempted to mimic the effect of a reduced white point in the mockup screenshot below:
The animated GIF shows the subtle visual change induced with Reduce White Point as well, again this is a mockup:
In some ways, it has a similar effect to just reducing the screens brightness, but you’ll find it’s actually easier on the eyes than simply toning down the display brightness of an iPad or iPhone. There may even be a slight warming effect to the white point change, though someone would probably need professional display calibration tools to determine if the color temperature has changed with certainty, as it could be a matter of perception bias or differences in individual screens.
For iOS users who find this setting pleasing to the eyes, you can have similar impacts in OS X by calibrating a Mac screen and setting the white point to something your eyes are more comfortable with. Another option is to use the excellent Flux app on desktop Macs (and PC’s for that matter), which produces much more dramatic results but can really reduce eye strain particularly when used in the evening hours.