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Do I need to use the Blue Light filter feature on my Android?

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What is a blue light filter? Also known as night mode, this handy function is available on many Android smartphones. It allows you to apply a filter to the screen, minimizing eye strain and reducing the blue light emitted by your smartphone screen. In this article, we’ll tell you how you can activate this function in your settings, and recommend a blue light filter app in case you can't.

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Why do you need a blue light filter?

If you want to minimize eye strain and lower the blue light coming from your smartphone screen, then yes, you do want to use the Blue Light filter! More and more users are having problems with eye strain due to the amount of time they spend in front of screens. It’s not surprising when you consider our modern lifestyles (staring at the TV, computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.).

Eye protection mode, as Huawei calls it, is an effective way to reduce blue light, which has a negative impact on sleep as it disturbs the production of melatonin, an essential sleep hormone. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your exposure to blue light, either in your smartphone's default settings, or via a blue light filter app.

How to activate night mode as a default setting

Recognizing the importance of this mode, Google decided to integrate it into Android since the Android Oreo version. The latest, Android 12, also has the night mode function. So long as your phone has reasonably up-to-date software, you can enable night mode like so.

  1. To activate it, just go to Settings > Display > Night Light.
  2. You can also configure it so that Night Light will turn off automatically at certain times.
Screenshots showing how to setup the Night Light feature
Night Light on the Pixel 5. It can also be configured in the color settings. / © NextPit

On phones from other manufacturers

Other manufacturers aren’t waiting around for the next Android update to introduce a Night Mode or Blue Light Filter on some of their phones. This is the case for Honor, Huawei, Asus, OnePlus, Samsung… generally, all you need to do is just go to Settings (then usually Display) or the shortcuts to activate it.

Most of these night modes can be scheduled, usually with an automatic setting designed to activate at sunset and switch to 'normal' light at sunrise, but you can customize it to your preferences.

Get a blue light filter app from the Play Store

So, you've looked through your current phone's settings and it doesn't appear to have a night mode. You shouldn't worry though, because at the moment there are a number of apps available on Google Play that allow you to achieve the same result.

One of the most popular ones around at the moment is Bluelight Filter. It has the same functionalities as those you find on Android, with even more options—selecting the filter color from seven available shades, shortcuts on the home screen, a notification widget and an activation time schedule.

Bluelight Filter app working on a Samsung device
Bluelight Filter is perfect for getting access to the Android Night Mode function / © NextPit
  • App version: 4.3.0
  • App size: 11 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 or higher
  • Price: free, in-app purchases €0.99 - €4.99 per item

Blue light filter on e-reader apps

If you do a lot of reading on your smartphone or tablet, using a dedicated e-reader app is much easier on the eyes. Not only do these apps offer a range of convenience features, but many also integrate a blue light filter to ease the strain on your eyes during your nighttime reading.

One of our favorite e-reader apps, Moon+ has a great blue light filter features integrated into the app. Google Play Books also has it in the form of its own Night Light settings.

Do you use a light filter on your smartphone? Do you find it helps minimize eye strain? Let us know in the comments below.

This article was updated in May 2022 and comments prior to the update have been retained.

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Pierre Vitré

Pierre Vitré
Head of Content

Pierre has a strong passion for new technologies and mobile since its first StarTac. Android user since 2011, Pierre became totally hooked. He never leaves his smartphone and smartwatch and still believes in the success of Google Glass. That's why he joined to be the head of content.

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  • 49
    storm May 11, 2022 Link to comment

    I've tried it. I don't like it. I think the effect is overstated, and it defeats much of the purpose of my use which is for accurate color. Dimming is usually sufficient for my comfort and sleep quality.

  • 1
    Chiropractor Toronto Jun 19, 2020 Link to comment

    I can't speak for iOS, but on most Android devices, you can now use the Digital Wellbeing and Night Light functions in settings to have your phone change the screen tint and other things that are disruptive to our circadian rhythms. These features are somewhat new and not perfect, but I do believe they will continue to improve.

  • marco sarli 39
    marco sarli
    • Admin
    Oct 7, 2019 Link to comment

    Sincerely I dim the brightness and that is all I need and on my tablet the reader takes automatically care of the problem

  • 1
    AndroidWit Aug 17, 2019 Link to comment

    The blue light filter included in Android is a very poor one using my Huawei p20 pro on Android 9. It reduces blue light by only a small amount.

  • 8
    Vijay Feb 16, 2019 Link to comment

    Somehow I never got either DND option or night light to work properly on Android. It is almost as if they turn on & off on their own.

  • Jose Silva 1
    Jose Silva Jul 25, 2018 Link to comment

    It's a lot easier, people. Night Mode can be accessed using the Google Play Books App settings. It's that simple.

  • Taoufiq Lak 14
    Taoufiq Lak Jan 29, 2018 Link to comment

    First, is it safe for the screen to use those apps from the play store ?
    2nd from my experience of 3 years using a screen filter, the best is Réduire Luminosité l'écran, it does not put a filter, it just reduces the brightness more than your phone gives you from settings.

    • Bia KMS 1
      Bia KMS Feb 20, 2018 Link to comment

      I have an S4 mini (android 4.4.2) for 3 years now. I used the Blue Light Filter downloaded from the Play Store, I really liked it, but when my phone completed a year of usage, the display got wierd, it looked divided in half and the colors were wrong. I took it to a technical assistance and the display had to be changed. OK, the job was done. I don't know what damaged the display, but I suspect it had to do with the app filter. I never used it again, and the problem never occurred again. Maybe it was the app, maybe it wasn't. I would say it's not safe... I'm only using again when it's a native app from Android.

      • Jerry's W. 20
        Jerry's W. Sep 12, 2018 Link to comment

        You just messed up your settings the technician had put them in right setting back.
        no material defect, just an unskilled user with the wrong settings.
        bluelight from phone settings or app will never damage a LCD screen.

      • 1
        NA0341 Oct 20, 2020 Link to comment

        Nope. What "Bia KMS" talks about is actual damage!
        I can confirm that issue as I'm using a »Samsung Galaxy S5 mini (SM-G800F)« with the following symptoms:
        + shading/distorted colours (wear-out sign, barely visible)
        + flickering while turning it on/off (potential driver issue (I mean the chip!))
        If dimmed below ~15% (and further), the following happens:
        + the bottom half gets a green tone
        + sharp lines in neon and red colors appear
        + at 0% it's just a flickering red-green mess

        But again: This issue is not from a setting!
        - na0341

    • 1
      NA0341 Oct 20, 2020 Link to comment

      As Jerry's W. already mentioned: The change is only cosmetic!

      And while you can damage a screen without mechanically damaging it - this only applies to the aspects of the screens technology. I.e. for OLED screens the fact that they wear out. And the parts used most to display the same content will wear out faster…
      For modern LCD's however, almost all of theese issues exist no longer - only static content displayed over long periods of time still can be harmful for some screens…

  • Shankar Prasad Nandi 18
    Shankar Prasad Nandi Feb 11, 2017 Link to comment

    A so-called bluelight filter is supposed to reduce strain on your eyes if you are in the habit of using your mobile phone for long hours, especially if you use it to read extensively. However, the medical justification for this kind of thing is still controversial. Some people solve this issue by using an ebook reader like a Kindle for reading. In my experience, installing and using an app for bluelight filtering is not an option. All the apps available are too crude or have intrusive adds or are not well-integrated into the system. Only the Nougat filter is worth using. Even the much-touted Twilight is worthless. Such things need integration into the operating system, not an app. That should perhaps teach us that basic smartphone functions need integration into the ecosystem, not imposed by an app.

  • Dean L. 34
    Dean L. Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    I use it on my phone and find it helps at night when my eyes are tired. Bottom line is it's supposed to help if you plan on going to bed because the blue light is supposed to make it so that it's more difficult to fall asleep.

  • Albin Foro 30
    Albin Foro Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    Nearly all my long form screen time is on ereader apps like Kindle, Moon+, and the RBDigital magazine app - except for that last, I can choose a background/foreground format that's comfortable and don't want Android or some other app to fool with it. Don't want discoloration and dimming of photo or video viewing or editing, or digging into system settings to turn it off and on for different applications.

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