The researchers continuously publish studies on the potential harm of blue light filters. Staring at a screen all day and into the evening can affect your sleep and disrupt your body’s natural rhythm. For these reasons, blue light filters are incredibly important.
Regardless of whether you spend your day on a Windows PC, Mac, or Chromebook, you should turn on the blue light filter to relieve your eyes. Desktop monitors and laptops usually have a built-in filter that you can access, and there are downloadable options in case this feature isn’t available on your computer.
However, if you are looking for a blue light filter for your smartphone, there are many great apps available for download from the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store.
What’s the problem with blue light?
The reason blue light hurts is purely biological. Sleep is part of the circadian rhythm, which is the cycle of biological processes determined in part by the light and dark levels our bodies are exposed to.
In the most natural environment, where we are only exposed to sunlight, our retinas sense when the sun goes down and the environment becomes darker. This causes our hypothalamus to produce melatonin and other sleep hormones and to lower our body temperature.
However, when we use artificial light to lengthen our day, our bodies become confused and the various sleep signals are disrupted. Even worse is the blue light emitted by fluorescent and LED lights – like on our various device displays – which makes us more alert and produces even less melatonin.
This is why using a blue light filter is so important.
Microsoft added a function to limit the blue light to Windows 10 in the Creators Update published in April 2017. This feature is known as night light and it moves the Windows 10 display to show warmer colors that reduce the amount of blue light emitted. Turning the feature on is a simple process.
Step 1: Right click on Beginning Button and select the settings on the Main user Menu. Alternatively, you can press the button Windows + X. Keys and then click the settings.
Step 2: Choose system in the pop-up window.
Step 3: The display Category opens by default. Scroll right down and turn on Night light Frame.
Click to configure the night light function Night light settings is under the switch. Here are options to turn on the night light immediately, adjust the strength, and schedule when the night light will turn on and off.
To set the schedule, toggle the option Plan night light Option to a. You can then either switch the night light on yourself at sunset and switch it off at sunrise – automatically depending on your location – or you can set the time manually by clicking on Set hours and select when the function should be switched on and off.
When you turn the feature on for the first time, you will notice the color shift immediately. After a while, your eyes will adjust to the change and it should be less obvious. However, by reducing the amount of blue light, the night light feature will limit the effects of using your Windows 10 PC late at night. You may find it easier to fall asleep and your sleep may be deeper and more restful.
Apple was first introduced in iOS and brought Night Shift to Macs in macOS Sierra in March 2017. As with Windows 10, the feature is simple enough to turn on and configure the way you want.
Step 1: Click the Apple logo in the upper left corner and select System settings in the drop-down menu. Alternatively click on System settings Icon on the dock.
Step 2: Choose Show in the pop-up window.
Step 3: Press the Night shift Tab in the following pop-up window.
Here you can configure when Night Shift will run automatically, turn it on until the next sunrise, and set your preferred color temperature. For planning, you can have MacOS switched on and off at sunset and sunrise depending on your location, or you can set a custom schedule.
As with Windows 10’s night light feature, Apple’s night shift heats the colors of your display and reduces the amount of blue light emitted. Try it to see if it improves your sleeping habits and makes you healthier, more productive, and generally happier than Mac.
Devices based on Google‘s Chrome OS have a built-in blue light filter called Night Light. The easiest way to activate this feature is to click System clock followed by the Night light Button in the popup menu. The screen is automatically washed with a dark amber shade.
To gain more control over the night light, do the following:
Step 1: click on System clock and choose the equipment Icon in the popup menu. This opens the the settings Window.
Step 2: Choose device listed on the left.
Step 3: Choose Show listed on the right.
Step 4: Click the switch to the right of Night light to activate this function.
Step 5: Move the slider between cooler and Warmer to adjust the blue light intensity.
Step 6: Next to Time scheduleClick the down arrow to select never, Sunrise to sunset, or Custom.
Step 7: If you choose Customa timeline from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. Select the duration by moving the start and stop times accordingly.
While you can change the blue light level on the software side, external monitors may include a blue light filter that you can manage using built-in On Screen Display (OCD) controls.
For example, press the OCD button on the 21.5-inch Acer SB220Q display and a control panel will appear on the screen separate from the PC desktop. As shown above, it includes options for adjusting brightness, sharpness, and blue light. You can manually switch between 50% and 80%. The higher the value, the more blue light is displayed.
Adjusting the blue light level on the OS side is definitely easier as physical buttons can be cumbersome. However, this method keeps blue light management consistent at all levels, regardless of whether the display is connected to a Windows PC, Mac or Chromebook.
Third party alternatives
flow – For Windows, MacOS and Linux, f.lux is a filter tool that tracks the sun in your area to ensure that the temperature of the color monitor matches the local light level. It has the option to turn it off for full screen apps so that games and photo editing aren’t unduly affected. It can even be integrated into smart lighting systems if you want to automatically adjust your room lighting at the same time.
Iris mini – Iris mini is a really light blue light filter application. It has no user interface, no buttons, and no “confusing options”. All she can do is adjust the color of your monitor to optimally protect your eyes from glare and harmful blue light. You can control it manually if you want, but the automatic mode keeps up with the position of the sun in relation to your location and automatically adjusts the color of your screen accordingly. There are versions for Windows, Mac and Linux. Regardless of which platform you are using, you can take advantage of it.