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Are you a night time Mac user? Many of us are, and MacOS has a lot of great features that can improve low light computing experiences.
Whether you’re working in the dim evening or late at night, or even just in a dark room, we’ll share with you some helpful tips to make low-light Mac usage even better. Perhaps you’ll find these tricks will help you to reduce eye strain and might even make you more productive as a result!
Note that some of these features are limited to MacOS Mojave 10.14 and later, like the full Dark Mode theme, but the same general principles will apply to other Mac OS versions as well.
1: Manually Reduce Screen Brightness
Many of the Mac displays are extremely bright, which looks brilliant and allows for vibrant colors and screen imagery, but at night or in low light you’ll probably want to reduce that screen brightness considerably.
You can use the keyboard brightness controls, or adjust brightness through the Display preference panel on Mac.
Another great benefit to reducing screen brightness is for Mac laptops, where you’ll almost certainly notice a significant boost to battery life while the screen is more dimmed.
2: Use Night Shift for a Warmer Screen Hue
Night Shift is the great feature that warms the display colors of a Mac during the evening and night time hours, so that the screen is putting off less blue light. There are many proven benefits to reducing blue light exposure, and you might even notice less eye strain when using Night Shift too.
Enabling Night Shift on Mac is done through the Display preference panel, setting it on a schedule or to match the daytime and nighttime hours is an easy way to appreciate the app as it sets in automatically. Generally speaking, the warmest setting offers the best results for most users.
For Macs without Night Shift support, you can also use Flux for a similar effect
3: Use Dark Mode to Reduce Bright Interface Elements
Dark Mode takes all of the bright white and bright gray user interface elements on a Mac and makes them dark gray, which is perfect for working at night and in low light situations. Enabling Dark Mode on the Mac is simply done through the “General” preference panel in MacOS.
Currently you have to manually enable and disable Dark Mode when you want to use it, but perhaps a future version of MacOS will allow for automatic Dark Mode similar to how Night Shift and Dynamic Desktops works.
For Mac users who don’t have the full Dark Mode theme, earlier versions of Mac OS allow for enabling a Dark menu bar and Dock instead.
4: Use Dark Wallpapers or Dynamic Desktops
Dynamic Desktop automatically changes the wallpaper with the time of day, using a darker picture in the evening and night hours. This helps to reduce the brightness coming off the display, making it easier on the eyes to stare at a screen. It also looks great.
Dynamic Desktops are enabled in the Desktop & Screen Saver preference panel.
If you don’t have or like Dynamic Desktops, then just setting a dark wallpaper can offer the same effect of reducing the amount of brightness coming off the display.
5: Browsing the Web? Use Safari Reader Mode
Safari Reader Mode is excellent for many reasons, but if you’re browsing the web or reading the web at night, placing an article into Safari Reader is fantastic because you can theme Reader so that it matches Dark Mode on the Mac, taking black on white text and turning it into white on dark gray or white on black.
Enabling Reader Mode in Safari is just a matter of clicking the Reader button in the URL bar of a web page, and then you can click the “aA” button to customize the appearance of Safari Reader on Mac as well including changing color scheme, fonts, and text size (using larger text at night is easier on the eyes for many of us).
Oh and if you’re on the web using YouTube, you can try YouTube dark mode theme too.
Unrelated to working at night, but another fantastic Safari Reader tip is for printing an articles content only, without ads or other page content that can use unnecessary printer ink.