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article imageDevelopers of 'original night mode' app f.lux respond to iOS 9.3

By James Walker     Jan 16, 2016 in Technology
A new feature in Apple's latest iOS update, iOS 9.3,made headlines this week. Night Mode automatically shifts the brightness and temperature of the display to reduce blue light at night. It is similar to established app f.lux, recently blocked on iOS.
Apple's inclusion of Night Shift Mode in iOS 9.3 was preceded by the removal of methods used to run f.lux on iOS. Apple has since been surrounded by debate and allegations of unfair practices for preventing access to the established favourite and then driving its users to its own implementation.
Both f.lux and Night Shift Mode change the brightness and colour temperature of the display to match the light produced by the sun throughout the day. This cuts down the amount of blue light emitted at night, a well-known hallmark of smartphone displays that makes it hard to get to sleep and is thought to increase the risk of cancer.
By adding native support for colour temperature changes to iOS, Apple's iPhones will now be less damaging to normal sleep if used for reading before bed. The feature is available in a selection of newer Apple products running iOS 9.3. f.lux could previously be side-loaded onto iOS 9 devices via Xcode 7 but Apple has now disabled this in a patch.
The developers of f.lux have now publicly expressed their opinion on Apple's Night Shift Mode. The team praised Apple's development of its own app, calling it a "big commitment and an important first step" towards improving the night-time readability of smart devices.
Remaining positive, f.lux's creators do not directly address the issue of the app's removal, instead calling on Apple to open up Night Shift Mode so other developers can build on its features and help improve it. The team said: "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."
It added that it is "proud" to be the "original innovators and leaders" in the field and is currently working on the "next phase" of f.lux development. The app is currently available on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
Health professionals are becoming increasingly convinced of the damaging effects of blue light on the body. The American Medical Association describes the implications of extended night-time exposure to blue light as "serious" and has found that artificial light disrupts the natural circadian rhythm of the body and changes sleep patterns.
More research still needs to be done to fully understand the effects of blue light on the body. In the meantime, Apple seeks to help the situation in its own way, even if that does mean well-known rival f.lux must be forced away from its platform.
More about Ios, ios 9, Apple, Light, Blue light
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