Favorite Apps: F.lux

Speaking of night owls, I’ve been meaning to write about a fantastic utility that helps you see better in the dark.

F.lux is a free app for Mac OS X that adjusts your screen’s brightness depending on what time of day it is. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s actually hugely important.

The light emitted by computer, smartphone, and tablet screens is the same type of light given off by the sun. Our bodies are programmed to wake up when exposed to this light, which is why people often recommend letting sunlight in to wake you up in the morning.

What you don’t want, however, is to be blasting yourself with “wake up” rays right before bedtime. That’s where F.lux comes in.

F.lux uses your location to determine what time of day it is, including when the sun sets. During the day, your screen will look like sunlight, and at night, F.lux will adjust your screen’s brightness to a warm, soothing glow. You can even tell F.lux what type of overhead lighting you have, and it will adjust accordingly. Once you set your preferences, F.lux will do everything automatically, so you don’t have to worry about it.

This is the kind of app you don’t think you need until you try it, and then you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. F.lux makes your screen “healthier” because it will prevent your computer from blasting you with wake up light when you’re up late, so you’ll sleep better. Your screen will also be less offensive to your retinas no matter what time of day it is. It does take a little while to get used to, because your screen looks quite different without its brightness maxed out 24/7, but you’ll love it in no time.

I’ve been using F.lux for months, and it will be one of the first apps I install on all of my future Macs.

Give F.lux a try. It’s free, and your eyes will thank you.

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