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If you use your Mac at night or in the dark, you should please your eyes and brain 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 designed to emit as much light as possible and mimic practically sunlight. Instead, the lighting of your displays should get warmer and softer, mimicking the lighting in your room.
The settings are simple, set your location (or zip code) and what kind of lighting your computer is in, and set the lighting transition speed. Flux does the rest, at sunset your screen becomes warmer and easier on the eyes, and at sunrise the screen is clear and normal again.
What does Flux look like on the Mac?
You can’t actually take a screenshot of the changes to provide a demonstration, so I cast a slight sepia tone on a screenshot to give you an idea of the subtle change. By default on the left and Flux adjusted on the right:
The difference is entirely in the overall heat of the screen, but the intensity of that heat depends on your lighting settings in the app. And yes, you can turn the app off at any time or set it to turn off for an hour if you start doing color-sensitive work. This is done by simply pulling open the Flux menu and selecting “Disable for a hour”.
Flux reduces eye strain and eye strain … and helps with sleep?
I have been using Flux for the past week and I can say that it definitely helped reduce eye strain late at night for my Mac. I let Flux adjust the display’s heat, then manually set the display brightness to a lower level, combining the two to provide a much more enjoyable experience when reading or spending hours behind a screen late in the night the evening.
Now, I don’t know if it helped sleep at all, but Flux’s developers suggest that reducing your exposure to ‘blue lighting’ (the standard intense lighting put off by a computer screen) can improve your ability to sleep. It’s quite a theory, and it seems they are interested in exploring it further. To bolster that theory even more, the American Medical Association has actually researched exposure to bright light and concluded that it can cause sleep problems:
“Recognizes that exposure to excessive light at night, including extended use of various electronic media, can disrupt sleep or worsen sleep disturbances, especially in children and adolescents. This effect can be minimized by using dim red light in the nighttime bedroom. “
If just offering a more pleasant evening experience isn’t enough for you, the potential to improve sleep may be a better selling point.
Flux is a free download
Available for free for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.
- You can get it from the developer here
It’s technically 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 to install, making it much less practical for the average user.
… But my Mac dims itself and I can adjust the brightness myself
Sure, most MacBook Pros automatically adjust brightness based on ambient light, and you can fine-tune the display brightness yourself too, but neither features change the heat of the screen, and that’s what I’ve found makes the biggest difference for late nights at the computer. Give Flux a try for yourself, if you often use your computer at night I think you’ll really appreciate it.
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