Are you experiencing eye strain, dry eyes, or occasional headaches when you spend too much time using your gadgets? It’s a sign that you should probably reduce the time you spend staring at screens for sure. However, that might not always be possible.
The good news is, you can start using blue light filter software to reduce eye strain and in some cases even improve your sleep. We put together a list of apps that you can use on your computer that will help you avoid the harmful effects of blue light.
What’s Wrong with Blue Light?
Blue light is the reason your eyes start hurting after spending too long staring at your device screen. Continued exposure to blue light can suppress the production of melatonin or sleep-inducing hormone. This means that continued use of your devices keeps you alert and extends your day but also disrupts your natural sleep cycle. That could be causing your eyes to feel tired and overworked at the end of the day, as well as cause various sleep problems and even depression over time.
Filtering out blue light can help restore your natural sleep cycle and help other biological processes in your body that are determined by the levels of light that your body’s exposed to. Here are some examples of the blue light filter software that you can use for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Iris mini for Windows, Mac, Linux
Iris mini is one of the best free apps that you can get to reduce the blue light while using your computer. It’s extremely simplistic and minimalistic: there’s no UI, no confusing multiple-option menus, no useless buttons. Once you download and install the software, Iris will appear on your screen as an icon in the ribbon menu of your computer.
There are only 3 mode variations: Automatic, Manual, and Paused. Iris reduces the color temperature and brightness of your screen without increasing the flicker rate of the monitor. In Automatic mode during the day the color temperature is 5000k and brightness is kept at 100%, and at night it’s changing to 3400k and 80%.
Manual mode allows you to keep the color temperature at 3400k and brightness at 80% at all times, while Paused means pausing the work of the app.
You can also get more options to customize Iris mini by paying for the Pro version for $8 (one-time payment). Otherwise, the app is free and available to download for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Redshift for Windows, Mac, Linux
Redshift is free and open-source blue light filter software that determines your location and adjusts the color temperature of your screen according to the position of the sun. You’ll see your screen transition to different color temperatures during daytime when there’s a natural source of light and during nighttime to match the light from the artificial light sources that surround you.
According to the developer, the app also takes into account whether it’s a bright or an overcast day in your location and changes the color temperature appropriately.
Redshift is free and open-source, with the source code available on GitHub.
SunsetScreen for Windows
SunsetScreen is a free blue light filter app that takes regulating your screen’s brightness to the next level. SunsetScreen keeps the screen brighter for a longer period of time during winter months.
In winter it gets dark earlier but you might want to keep the same working or studying schedule as before. The app allows you to set your own sunrise and sunset times to match it with your productivity cycle. You can then create your own presets and select the level of brightness and color temperature that you want for your computer screen.
The app is completely free to download and use. However, there’s only a version for Windows available at the moment.
CareUEyes Lite for Windows
CareUEyes Lite is a free version of a blue light filter app called CareUEyes. Installing the Lite version of CareUEyes is an excellent way to test out the blue light filter app before buying the Pro version and see how you like it first.
CareUEyes Lite comes with a brightness control that allows you to adjust your screen’s brightness to various levels, from 20% to 100%. Since CareUEyes Lite only uses 600kb of disk space and as little CPU time as possible, it’s an app that you can install even on a poor performance computer.
However, if you need more features like the blue light filter, the sunrise/sunset switch, and timer, you can buy the Pro license that starts at $1.90 per month.
Night Shift for Mac
If you’re a Mac owner, you don’t have to download third-party blue light filter software to filter the blue light at night time. Night Shift shifts your display to warmer colors at night, which allows you to keep working on your computer safely after sunset.
To turn on Night Shift on your Mac, follow the path Apple Menu > System Preferences > Displays > Night Shift. There you have an option to Schedule the blue light filter to turn on and off together with the sunset and sunrise in your location, as well as choose a custom schedule for it.
The Manual option turns the blue light filter on until sunrise. You can also set the color temperature of the screen that you prefer moving the toggle from Less Warm to More Warm.
Use a Blue Light Filter App to Browse at Night Safely
If you don’t want to install a third-party blue light filter app on your computer, check if your device has a built-in option to block the blue light. Similar to Mac’s Night Shift, Windows 10 has a dedicated Night Light feature that you can switch on and off, and Ubuntu 17.10 has an entire Night Light Mode.
What app do you use to filter out your screen’s blue light? Share your experience with blue light filter software in the comments section below.