Why an app that makes your display red is tearing up the UK Play Store

Why an app that makes your display red is tearing up the UK Play Store

The UK’s current top paid app is Twilight Pro Unlock, the main function of which is to change the color of your display. That’s right: it increases the amount of red, while reducing the amount of blue that your screen produces. Why is it so popular? Find out below.

androidpit smartphone in bed
Twilight: the app that aims to help you sleep better. / © ANDROIDPIT

Twilight claims it can help you sleep better, to the tune of an extra hour a night, which goes some way towards explaining its popularity. 

To put the science behind this in very simple terms, Twilight turns your display red, which means it emits less of the unnatural blue light that tends to keep you awake at night.

Various research claims that the light emitted from backlit displays sends a message to our brain telling it that it's not yet night-time, which makes it hard for your brain to switch off and let you go to sleep shortly after using one.

androidpit twilight app one
"Are you having trouble falling asleep?" Yes. / © ANDROIDPIT

But while sleep problems associated with backlit displays are well-documented, there hasn't been much in the way of a solution until now – and that's where Twilight comes in. The app automatically adjusts your smartphone or tablet's display to more-soothing red tones during the evening and, in doing so, reduces the strength of the sleep-damaging signal that's sent to your brain.  

In theory, this could be ideal for people who read on their tablets before going to bed or stay up late messaging or for parents who want to ensure their kids will still sleep after playing "one more game of Alto's Adventure" before bedtime.

Does it work? There are many factors that affect sleep and we don’t yet know enough about smartphones to understand all of the ways in which they are harmful or beneficial to us, so it's hard to fully measure Twilight's effectiveness.

It will depend on your habits too. If you don't tend to use your phone in the hour or two before you go to sleep each night, then Twilight won't have much of an effect. 

androidpit twilight app two
Of course, you can't see the effect of the app in the screenshot, only on your own display. / © ANDROIDPIT

If you do use your phone before bed, however, it could help you. The science behind Twilight is widly accepted and – while it could be a placebo effect – I've found that I’ve slept better and felt more refreshed in the mornings since I began using it.

The good news is that you don’t have to purchase the app to give it a try. There’s a completely free version available too, which has much of the same functionality as the paid-for version, including the essential functionality that alters the display colors.

Download Twilight for free via the link above and let me know in the comments how it works out for you.

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14 comments

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  • Charlie M. Feb 14, 2016 Link to comment

    I have f.lux on my computer and I don't think I could live without it.


  • sam Feb 14, 2016 Link to comment

    the one plus one comes with a built built in night mode. I have noticed that since beginning to using the night mode it has helped me sleep.


  • Henry Simons Feb 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Might be nice for those needing to use the phone at night to save their vision. cabbies, boaters, guards -etc


  • Dean L. Feb 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Interesting concept but needs more science and testing to show if there's any benefit.


    • Bojan M. Feb 13, 2016 Link to comment

      It's not just a concept, research has been done on the topic. Even if there is no effect on the sleep itself, reddish colors are much more comfortable on the eyes during the evening/night or in dimly lit spaces.


    • Scott Adam Gordon Feb 16, 2016 Link to comment

      Sure sure the app itself may not work (or may not work perfectly) but I'm happy to try anything that attempts to reduce the artificial light.


  • BruinGuy Feb 12, 2016 Link to comment

    Sorry, I went to UCLA. I don't do red. Red is for TrOJans.


  • hassan bouchta Feb 12, 2016 Link to comment

    Does have any effect on battrie life?


    • Scott Adam Gordon Feb 12, 2016 Link to comment

      I haven't noticed one. But the app is usually only in effect for a short time, and I have been using it to dim the display. If anything, it should offer an improvement on the most extreme (most dim) settings.


      • CilentWhistlr Feb 12, 2016 Link to comment

        I read somewhere that it burns your AMOLED display.


      • Bojan M. Feb 13, 2016 Link to comment

        Well, that's the thing with amoled displays, there may be burn-ins for various reasons. Using one part of the color spectrum over the other might result in some long term degradation of an amoled display. But it would be only for the lesser part of the day, so maybe not. Hopefully, amoled got better over the years, so this shouldn't be much of a problem.

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