The developers behind the popular f.lux app officially respond to Apple’s Night Shift Mode announcement. Apple’s Night Shift mode is a user experience/user interface feature that is designed to help cut down on blue light exposure during night time all in hopes of encouraging better sleep.
Given how an increasing number of smartphone users are spending longer amounts of time on their smartphones, the move is one that has been well planned on Apple’s side. Although the move is great for everyone, many are noting the similarities between Apple’s Night Shift mode and the popular f.lux app for Mac, especially since Apple forced the f.lux for iOS app to stop just two months before the debut of its new feature.
There have been several discussions about the topic all over the internet, particularly on the /r/jailbreak subreddit. The issue has been so widely debated that the developers behind f.lux have now published an official response to Apple’s Night Shift feature, stating that Apple’s decision to address nighttime exposure to blue light a “big commitment and an important first step.” What’s a bit interesting here is that instead of calling Apple out on what many people are claiming was just copycatting, the developers are asking Apple to take its support a step further by implementing tools that would allow for the reintroduction of the f.lux for iOS app back into the App Store. Below is the quote where the developers state the aforementioned call-to-action:
We’re proud that we are the original innovators and leaders in this area. In our continued work over the last seven years, we have learned how complicated people actually are. The next phase of f.lux is something we cannot wait to ship to the world. […]
Today we call on Apple to allow us to release f.lux on iOS, to open up access to the features announced this week, and to support our goal of furthering research in sleep and chronobiology.
Despite what many might consider a “noble” stance for the matter, the company didn’t hesitate to carefully word and throw in some positive news about themselves (and they have every right to since they clearly have been around far longer than Apple’s involvement in this space):
We’re proud that we are the original innovators and leaders in this area. In our continued work over the last seven years, we have learned how complicated people actually are. The next phase of f.lux is something we cannot wait to ship to the world.
For those of you who aren’t aware, f.lux for Mac has been available for several years now and it’s very popular among the die-hard Mac community as many users want to avoid blue light at night. As mentioned several times by f.lux, research has stated that exposure to bright light (especially blue light at night time) can interrupt with a person’s circadian rhythm. This typically causes sleep problems and several other harmful effects on the immune system. Though there’s been a Mac solution to blue light for quite some time, there hasn’t been any tool available to iOS users who aren’t touting a jailbroken iOS device. That of course is until iOS 9.3’s Night Shift mode.
Previously, the developers behind f.lux tried to bring an official iOS version of the app to the iPhone and iPad using an app side-loaded onto iOS devices via Xcode. When they tried this, Apple quickly prevented this from happening telling the company that side-loading apps is a violation of the Developer Program Agreement. For those of you who are wondering why f.lux couldn’t just be on the official App Store, it’s because the developers would need Apple’s help since the APIs that control display temperature aren’t provided for developer use. The previously available version of f.lux used private APIs that weren’t allowed for release in the App Store.
As of right now, Apple has yet to reply. Night Shift mode is currently available to developers and iOS 9.3 public beta testers who are running the latest beta version of the new mobile operating system. The feature is set to be released publicly with the launch of iOS 9.3. If you’re wondering whether your iOS device will run Apple’s Night Shift feature, you can check here:f.lux]