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Reading at night with a neat iPhone hack

Posted in Apple

I’m re-reading one of my favourite books at the moment: The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I love reading in bed each night as it helps me switch off from the day and as soon as I feel my eyelids getting heavy I know it’s time to switch off and go to sleep. But my wife prefers to go straight to sleep so I can’t keep the bedside lamp on, which is where my phone comes in!

Unfortunately, even my phone’s lowest screen brightness setting is too fierce for reading in the dark. My iPhone XS’s OLED screen is better than my previous iPhone’s LCD screen, as the black pixels don’t turn on, but it’s still uncomfortably bright.

But never fear! I found a neat hack where you dim the screen even further with a simple triple tap of the home button (or side button on a newer iPhone model).

Here’s what to do.

Set up Accessibility Shortcut

First we need to make a triple tap of the home button trigger something called Zoom:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Go to General → Accessibility → Accessibility Shortcut (right at the bottom of the list)
  3. Choose Zoom

Configure Zoom

Now we need to set Zoom up:

  1. Go back to the Accessibility menu in Settings
  2. Go to Zoom (General → Accessibility → Zoom if you’re going from the start of Settings again)
  3. Toggle Zoom on
  4. With three fingers, triple tap the screen to bring a black menu up
  5. Tap Zoom Out and the screen will un-magnify
  6. From Choose Region, select Full Screen Zoom
  7. From Choose Filter, select Low Light

You’re all set

From now on, to dim your screen further than it normally goes, all you’ve got to do is triple-tap the home button:

  • One, two, three taps and your screen dims
  • One, two, three taps and it’s back to normal

One last thing

Something to watch out for: I’ve noticed that every now and then, when I triple tap the home button, the screen magnifies again. All you need to do if that happens is triple tap the screen with three fingers and choose Zoom Out.

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