Much like the Night Shift feature Apple introduced in iOS 9.3, and Blue Shade which Amazon rolled out in summer 2015 on its Fire tablets, Android has its own Night Mode which is intended to limit the blue light emitted from the displays of devices. Sadly, while the setting was available on the developer previews of Android Nougat, it's not in the final consumer release. Don't worry though, we'll show you how to enable Night Mode in Android Nougat.
How to enable Night Mode in Android Nougat: Avoiding the blues
Recent scientific research seems to suggest that the blue light emitted by phone and tablet displays can have a detrimental effect on sleep patterns. These wavelengths are said to stimulate parts of the brain that control alertness, and could even convince our bodies that it’s still daytime. The upshot of this is that using your smartphone, tablet, PC or TV in the late evening could make it harder for you to get to sleep.
The new Night Mode in Android 7.0 Nougat addresses this by diminishing the blue light on your screen, increasing instead the warmer reds in an effort to reduce disruptions to your balanced circadian rhythm. It’s not a guaranteed solution. The NHS lists drinking tea or coffee in the four hours before you go to bed, drinking alcohol or smoking as other potential reasons why you might struggle to nod off when you finally hit the pillow. Still, it’s probably a good idea to address the blue light issue as well as all those other things, as many of us are spending an increasing amount of time gazing into glowing rectangles.
How to enable Night Mode in Android Nougat: Adding the feature
If your Android phone is running the newest version of the operating system, which is currently 7.0 Nougat, then perusing the Settings menu will leave you with a profound lack of Night Mode. We have seen reports of people who upgraded from the Developer Betas actually seeing the feature listed automatically, but for the majority of us who wait for the official consumer releases it will be absent.
In order for this workaround to be successful you’ll first need to enable the Developer mode on your device. Head over to the Settings menu and scroll to the bottom of the list where you’ll find the About Phone section. Tap this then scroll to the bottom of the next list until you find Build Number. Tap this repeatedly, it takes about seven or eight presses, and you’ll be told that the developer mode has been activated. Now you’re ready to proceed.
Accessing Night Mode involves downloading a small app from the Google Play Store that unlocks the feature. There are a few available, but we’ve had a good experience with Night Mode Enabler by Mike Evans. Once you’ve found the app on the Play Store download and launch it on your device.
You’ll be presented with a mainly blank screen instructing you to Enable System UI Tuner. To do this swipe down from the top of the screen to access the Settings menu, then long press on the Settings/Gear icon until you see the message ‘Congratulations! System UI Tuner has been added to Settings’. Now when you scroll down to the bottom of the Settings menu you’ll find System UI Trainer just above the About Phone option.
Tapping on it brings up a warning entitled ‘Fun for some but not for all’, which simply outlines the fact that the features included in this section are experimental and may be a little unstable to use.
Tap Understood and then leave the Settings and return to the Enable Night Mode app, which will now have a similarly named button in the middle of the screen that will banish your blues.
Tap it and you’ll be taken back to the System UI Tuner, where this time there had appeared a section for Night Mode. Tap the On button in the top right corner and your screen should take on a reddish cast. You don’t want Night Mode on all the time though, so we recommend selecting the ‘Turn on automatically’ option so your device will only apply the setting once the evening begins to draw in.
If you ever want to turn it on or off manually you can also access the Quick Settings menu (the one that appears when you swipe down from the top of your display) and tap the Night Mode option that should now reside among the other icons.
So there you have it, Night Mode. Hopefully that will make your life more restful, well, as much as a setting on a smartphone ever can. Sweet dreams.