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How to Enable Blue Light on macOS and Linux

Blue light support has become a popular trend across desktop and mobile operating systems over the past year. Brands such as iOS, macOS and Windows 10 (Nightlight), all come built in with their own versions of the feature. Blue light limits the production of melatonin, which is important for managing sleep behavior, and also relevant to various health conditions such as heart function.

In the past, we’ve reviewed setting up and configuring blue light on iOS and Windows 10, and today we’re going to review how to enable blue light for macOS and Linux. 

How to Setup Blue Light on Linux and macOS Using F.lux and Night Shift

I’ll start off with the easy one first. Apple’s Night Shift is only a check box away. Your Mac needs to be running 10.12.4, which you can install from App store. Also, you need to be running on hardware that supports the feature. Here’s the list of supported Macs:

  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or later)
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or later)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or later)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

Note: If your Mac isn’t on the list, not all hope is lost. Download and install F.lux. It’s a great 3rd party app that we’ve written about in depth here at groovyPost.

Now if you have a supported HW and OS, you can enable Night Shift here:

Launch Settings > Display > select the Night Shift tab, click in the Schedule list box then choose one of three options:

Off – if you prefer to manually enable Night Shift, this default option lets you do so.

Custom – Set the hours Night Shift is automatically enabled, the default is 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Sunset to Sunrise – based on location services, Night Shift will automatically adjust color temperature in location.

You can further modify the temperature to make it just right for your environment using the slider, from less warm to more warm.

Users can enable or disable Night Shift on the fly from the Notification Center or use Siri commands Turn on Night Shift or Turn off Night Shift.

Blue Light Support on Linux

Setting up blue light on Linux is a little more involved, but nothing to scare you away. As with pretty much everything in Linux, it’s a community effort. First, you will need to download a third-party package, maintained by developer Nathan Renniewaldock. Make sure you download the right package for your distribution of Linux. In my case, I am running Ubuntu 16.04, also known by its code name Xenial.

After downloading the package, double click it; this will then launch the Ubuntu software center, where you can begin the installation.

Open the F.lux Indicator Applet, which will prompt you to enter your latitude. Yeah, I know, not exactly the most friendly UI in the world. The app does provide a link to finding your Latitude and Longitude, however, I just used Google to quickly find where I was located. For those in the US, F.lux also provides the option for simply entering a zip code.

The app also provides several Nighttime color temperatures to choose from. I found Halogen (3400K) to be most comfortable, but you can play with several others to see if they suit you more. The F.lux Indicator Applet adds a menu bar item where you can quickly access settings for the app and even pause it.

Users running Android can download a third party app for their device. Learn more about setting it up here. If you want to learn more about f.lux in general, check out our previous coverage here.

Tell us what you think, have you been using blue light on your operating system of choice? If so, have you experienced the benefits of using it?

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