How to Use Night Shift in macOS Sierra 10.12.4

by

Night Shift, the feature first introduced in iOS devices with iOS 9.3, has expanded to the Mac with the release of 10.12.4. Night Shift is compatible with 2012 and newer Macs, so it won't work on older machines.

For those unfamiliar with Night Shift, it's designed to cut down on the amount of blue light you're exposed to during the evening by shifting the display of a Mac to a more yellow tone. Blue light is said to have a harmful effect on your circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Studies suggest that eliminating blue light exposure at night might help you sleep just a bit better, but it does significantly change the look of your display. Many Mac users have been using blue light reduction software f.lux for years now, but with Night Shift, there's no need to install an additional app because it's an operating system feature.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Turning On Night Shift

Night Shift's controls can be a little bit difficult to find when you go to use the feature for the first time. The Night Shift options are located in the display section of System Preferences.

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the menu bar and select System Preferences.
  2. Choose the "Displays" icon.
  3. There are three tabs in this menu: Display, Color, and Night Shift. Choose Night Shift.
  4. From the "Schedule" option, choose either "Sunset to Sunrise" or "Custom."

As the name suggests, the "Sunset to Sunrise" option causes Night Shift to turn on automatically each night when the sun sets and turn off when the sun rises. It's based on your local sunset and sunrise times. This option requires your location to be enabled in Security & Privacy Preferences so your Mac knows where you are in the world.

The "Custom" option lets you choose a specific start and end time for Night Shift to turn on. With a custom setting, it will turn on and off at the same time each night based on the time that you choose.

Adjusting Color Temperature

In the same section System Preferences that's used to turn Night Shift on, there's also an option to adjust the color temperature of the feature to your liking.


By default, the temperature is set to the middle, but if you drag the slider to the left, you'll get more blue light, and if you drag it to the right, you'll get a deeper yellow shade with less blue light.

Apple warns that using the warmer end of the spectrum could affect the appearance of some onscreen motion.

Night Shift Quick Toggle

If you want to manually enable or disable Night Shift, there are two ways to do it. You can use the "Manual" setting in System Preferences to force Night Shift to turn on, or you can use the Notification Center, which is quicker. For the Notification Center:

  1. Click on the Notification Center menu bar icon, which is denoted by three lines. It'll open to the Today view.
  2. Scroll up to the top of the Notification Center.
  3. Click on the "Night Shift" toggle to turn the feature on or turn it off.

Choosing one of the manual toggle options when Night Shift is off will toggle it on until sunrise (or a custom set time) no matter what time it is. Toggling it off will turn it off completely.

Siri

Siri, introduced in macOS Sierra, can be used to turn Night Shift on or off. Click the Siri button in the menu bar or the dock and say "Turn on Night Shift" or "Turn off Night Shift" to control the Night Shift feature.

External Monitors

Night Shift extends to external displays that are connected to your Mac, shifting the temperature to a warmer tone to match the Mac's display. It is not an individual option that can be applied to a display, but rather mirrors the Mac setting.

Night Shift does not extend to connected televisions or projectors, however, nor does it always work reliably with an external display.

Compatibility

Night Shift works with Macs manufactured in 2012 and later and it is not available on older machines. A full list of devices that support Night Shift is below:

  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
  • Apple LED Cinema Display
  • Apple Thunderbolt Display
  • LG UltraFine 5K Display
  • LG UltraFine 4K Display

Limitations

There is no option to toggle Night Shift on and off for specific apps, so if you wanted to be able to do something like turn Night Shift off when you use Photoshop or watch videos, there's no way to do it. It's all or nothing.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
46 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong but it doesn't seem to work on older MacBook Pros, I can't find the Night Shift tab on my late 2011 13" MacBook Pro.

Not wrong ... Apple are intentionally devaluing older hardware ... no actual reason for this missing feature ... flux has been working fine on my 2010 MBP a long time ... the hardware can handle it ... unless Apple are saying that their engineers cannot do what flux clearly can!!!

It used to be that hardware was not intentionally made obsolete in terms of features ... unless there was no choice.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago

I was able to turn on Night Shift on my late 2010 Air using instructions I found on https://pikeralpha.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/4398/

So far it works.

Thanks for the link! Used the instructions to enable Night Shift on my 15" MacBook Pro (Early 2011). It works perfectly! I created a step-by-step guide to make things a bit clearer.

View the steps here:

https://pikeralpha.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/4398/#comment-9146
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago
I was able to turn on Night Shift on my late 2010 Air using instructions I found on https://pikeralpha.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/4398/

So far it works.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago

It's a little odd that the headline feature replicates the actions of a free app that's been around for years

This always happens. I usually prefer Apple's own implantation of said new features though.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago


I see an opportunity for an app. You could cobble this up for pre-2012 Macs. You could do it in Applescript... if the time is x or later then change the hue of the monitor so that it's the same pink as nightshift. SURELY somebody has already done this?

It's called f.lux.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago
Correct me if I'm wrong but it doesn't seem to work on older MacBook Pros, I can't find the Night Shift tab on my late 2011 13" MacBook Pro.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

iOS 14.2 Beta Adds New Shazam Music Recognition Feature for Control Center

Thursday September 17, 2020 3:36 pm PDT by
Apple today released the first beta of iOS 14.2 to developers for testing purposes, and the new update introduces a Music Recognition control for the Control Center. The new feature lets you discover music playing around you and it recognizes the music playing with in apps, even when you're wearing AirPods. Songs pop up as notifications, and you can tap to listen in Apple Music....

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Rumor Report Card: Assessing the Accuracy of Leaks After Apple's Event

Friday September 18, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
Apple hosted its virtual "Time Flies" event this week, where it introduced four new products, including the Apple Watch Series 6, lower-cost Apple Watch SE, a 10.9-inch iPad Air with an all-screen design, and an updated 10.2-inch iPad with a faster A12 Bionic chip. As expected, there were no new iPhones, which are believed to be coming in October instead. Apple also announced that it will be ...

Epic Games Announces 'Fortnite: Save the World' Will No Longer Be Playable on macOS

Friday September 18, 2020 4:50 am PDT by
Epic Games has announced that "Fortnite: Save the World" will no longer be playable on macOS, after Apple terminated Epic Games' developer account. Fortnite has been in violation of the ‌App Store‌ rules since August 13, when it introduced a direct payment option that skirted Apple's in-app purchase system by allowing payments directly to ‌Epic Games‌. Shortly after Epic blatantly...

Deals: Cellular Carriers Introduce First Offers on Apple Watch Series 6 and SE

Friday September 18, 2020 7:43 am PDT by
With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE today, cellular carriers have now introduced special offers for these new wearable devices. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Starting with AT&T, if you buy one Apple Watch Series 3, Series...