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Flux: Better Lighting for Your Mac (applegrad.com)
184 points by taylorbuley on Mar 25, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 98 comments

More like "F.lux: Better lighting...for your computer"

It's not Mac-specific - http://stereopsis.com/flux/

I had trouble installing on linux and am using the program "redshift" instead.

In addition to being easier to install, Redshift has the benefit of working properly in multi-monitor environments.



I have f.lux in two monitors, with no problems. Windows 7 64 bits.

Should have clarified: In Linux, f.lux does not appear to work with multiple monitors. Redshift works great in Linux.

FWIW, f.lux is working fine on Ubuntu 10.04, with multiple monitors, for me.

I also couldn't get it working on Linux (I'm running a pretty standard Ubuntu 10.04 install on integrated graphics).

A shame, because it works great on my PC and Mac, and when I wake up the Linux PC to do server work at night it feels like my eyes are burning.

Can't adjust brightness? Ubuntu handles my brightness hotkeys and I keep the brightness pretty low anyway. For latenight I also use the compiz hotkey for negative color windows. (It may have to be enabled, and probably won't work on integrated gfx.) It is Win+N and pages go white on black instantly.

It's not about brightness it's about color temperature.

It's about both in a dark room. Current solution works, and have uninstalled the others. Not to mention, he said it didn't work for him.

What trouble did you have? Works out of the box in archlinux.

Yes, I've been using this for months on both Windows and my MBP. He's done a very seamless port - kudos! :-)

I used to use it and love it, but after a while I got tired of the inaccurate color profile in the evenings and realized I was disabling it more often than not. However, if you're just staring at documentation and code, it does wonders for your eyes. (An easy way to check how nice it is is to disable it late at night and feel your retinas come close to combustion)

Late night at the library a friend notices f.lux in action...

"why are your colours so messed up?"

"no, it's supposed to be this way at night. Check this out" disable f.lux; the bright flash starts burning our retinas


The bright flash of daylight color temperature when the MacBook Pro's switch graphics cards is the only downside* that I've experienced using f.lux. After you've been using it for a while it's painful to use a computer without it at night.

*for non color-critical work

If the automatic graphics card switch annoys you (it annoys me), you can disable it with this handy app: http://codykrieger.com/gfxCardStatus

To use one of these apps one needs a lot of encouragement, so here's some more: I've been using F.lux on all my machines for several months now and I'm very happy with it. Falling asleep after working on a computer is much easier with it.

I only wish something similar was possible on my iPad…

You can buy orange safety glasses that are kind of like flux for the whole world...


I bought them because I had forgotten about flux and I also tend to use my iPhone late at night. I had no idea how much blue light affected my sleep patterns until I started wearing these while I was winding down for the night.

The blue blockers should be more effective:


right? is it just me or is the iPad 1 WAY too bright? it never goes above the lowest setting and I constantly find myself checking to see if i can turn it lower. at night it is almost unbearable.

has this been addressed in iPad 2?

I highly recommend the sepia setting in iBooks and the Kindle reader, which brings the color temperature closer to paper. Just like f.lux, it looks strange at first, but soon the screen looks harsh without it.

However, I'm guessing you're not using one of those apps, because they also have custom full-range brightness controls. The standard control starts at bright and just gets brighter.

I feel the same way about my iPhone. One of the biggest reasons I jailbreak is so I can lower the brightness below the amount settings will allow.

The ebook reader allows you to dim much further, so it is possi le.

At http://wakemate.com/, we have tested out f.lux and have seen a significant improvement in our sleep!

Check out the full story here: http://blog.wakemate.com/2011/03/21/using-electronics-before...

I just want to say how much I appreciate WakeMate being available to non-US buyers. I've seen a lot of gadgets similar to it that don't ship to the UK and I find that to be a bit of a pain.

That's where I first heard about it. It's improved my scores too.

This kind of app may seem like nothing important until you actually use it. I was very skeptical about it but a few months ago I started used f.lux and it really is useful. I use my computer during the night as much I do during the day and it I noticed my eyes and my sleep was being affected. My eyes got tired very fast at night and I wasn't able to fall asleep easily. With f.lux that really changed. I urge every nocturnal computer user to give it a try!

Sorry for the dupes. Was pretty excited to share this one. New to me and quite useful.

The fact that this has so many upvotes would seem to indicate that HN has acquired quite a few new readers since it was last posted, so they probably appreciate it too.

This sounded like a good idea to me when I came across it (I think on HN?) a while ago. The logic makes great sense.

However, what I found was that when I come home late at night and want to work on something, I'm planning to stay up a while. I don't want my screen to go low-contrast and dim, I want to stay up and work! When I'm working late, I expect my computer to stay up with me. It felt like my computer was getting sleepy before I did. Eventually, I removed it.

Neat idea, just didn't fit my use case.

We have a UI in the works for "night owls"...people love the sunset, so we'll still include it, but we'll have a longer transition for people who want to work late (or who live in northern climates).

It has a "wake up setting' in the windows version.

Just a vote of confidence: I've been using flux for more than a year, and it rocks. Light is critical to sleep cycles and angle and temperature of light is part of that. Flux takes care of temperature for you.

And more than one person has thought they were hallucinating when they saw my screen change temperature, timed to the sunset outside. Extra bonus awesomeness.

Heck, I've been using this for months now and still sometimes have to check myself when I notice my colour temperature start to change.

I used to use f.lux, but after I got my latest MacBook air, I started having severe eye fatigue. It turns out the MBA screen has a lot of flicker, especially when scrolling. If the screen is dimmed and f.lux is on, the flicker is more pronounced. Counterintuitively, when I turned off f.lux and cranked up the brightness, my eyes felt better. I felt f.lux had no impact on my sleep cycles or intermittent insomnia.

This is more of an issue with the MBA but just wanted to let people know in case they were having similar eye issues.

Weird; I got an Air a few weeks ago and haven't noticed that problem at all.

I didn't notice it, either. But, if I do a flicker test it's definitely there.

I experienced painful eye fatigue after upgrading to the LED-backlit MBP. I got some quite expensive eye testing done, only to find my eyes were in good shape. My understanding of the problem is that the LED dimming is done using rapid power cycles (you can't really dim a LED). Some people are highly sensitive to the cycles, I guess I am one of them.

I found that 6 squares below full brightness is OK for me, but I still get eye pain sometimes. I'm now going to try changing the color profile.

I really want to like this app, but the Mac version is needlessly crippled.

For example, you can't set the specific time when you want it to start kicking into effect. When it geolocates itself, it hits full effect by 7pm, which is too early for my schedule (I'm staying with a roommate and optimally want to have it kick in around 9 or 10pm so we can both sleep around the same time).

Additionally, the Mac version only has 4 settings for the color temperature (Tungsten, Halogen, Fluorescent, and Daylight), while the Windows version allows you to manually set the exact temperature you want to set as the "maximum."

Try out our new version: https://secure.herf.org/flux/Flux12.zip

I am happy to see that F.lux for Mac is still being developed, and the new settings look great, but please allow me to request that the menu bar icon will be changed back to a monochrome one, or at least has a setting for it the same way Dropbox for Mac has.

Thanks for your work. I hope you'll consider my request.

Upvoted. I've been using Flux for several months. I absolutely love it. I am very familiar with the 'turn it off at night and feel your eyes start to burn' effect. But, for the love of god, PLEASE DO NOT clutter up the menubar with an attention-grabbing icon (i.e. one with color).

In addition to restoring a monochrome option, you should also allow users to turn off the menubar icon entirely, and simply rely on the System Preference pane for access on the (very rare) occasions when it's needed.

Thanks for your consideration.

thanks - we've been debating flipping it back to black for the same reason. Probably will!

Just updated - love the slider. 3800k turns out to be the perfect temperature for the room I'm in, so right in-between the old presets for tungsten and fluorescent.

Having the ability to fine tune it like this is really nice.

When I first downloaded the CoverFlow app on a Mac, I said to the person beside me... "Apple will integrate this in iTunes." It wasn't long before Apple bought them out and began sprinkling CoverFlow across everything Apple.

When I first downloaded F.lux I thought the same thing. Here's the next obvious buy.

That they haven't offered you a fat wad of cash to buy your improvement to the iDevices as something you live with in your home suggests to me that Apple is in the process of dropping the ball, when it comes to ergonomics and HI.

This should be baked into Lion. It just should. Thanks.

herf, can you tell me where the menubar icon comes from, for the current (not 1.2) version? I don't see it in the bundle, so now I'm curious.

I ask because on Mac OS X 10.7, I'm getting a wildly different, annoyingly-color, icon:


Whereas on the same machine, with the same version, under 10.6, I get:


Why is that not yet available on the website?

thanks for the great software!

The first time I was linked to a screenshot of the Windows version by a friend, I didn't even recognise it. :(

I've noticed after a few weeks of using it that I no longer am aware of the screen changing light temperature. I presume that's because I've adapted to it. Anyone else have that?

Once I used it for a complete day I didn't notice. It changes gradually enough that it isn't obvious unless you are thinking about it. Only problem I had was that, at least on Mac (Guns of Icarus), I'd jump into a game and not realize for a while that the color was not right or too dark due to Flux.

It happens around 5-6 PM and it's really noticeable for me.

I use redshift on my Linux boxes http://jonls.dk/redshift/

There is a cough awesome* version of f.lux for Linux too: http://stereopsis.com/flux/linux.html ;)

*disclaimer, I'm the author of the gui

Ironically, the gui is the main complaint of the guy who made Redshift (http://jonls.dk/2009/12/flux-for-linux/). Is this a new one?

In a way. Redshift was made before there was a GUI version of f.lux for linux, in dec. 2009, while I released the linux GUI for f.lux in june 2010. Before both there was just a command line app for f.lux on linux.

Ok, thanks for the info. I'll check both out.

I have the same problem he had. Flux just doesn't work on my Ubuntu laptop. It seems to be able to preview correctly, it just never adjusts on its own like it's supposed to. Seems to be a common issue.

I've only been using it for a few days, but I love it so far. Now, if only it worked with cell phones...

Yes, flux for Android please!

Been using it for about 3 weeks now, not sure how much of it is placebo effect but noticed a solid improvement on how tired I feel and how easy it is to fall asleep.

I've been using it for sometime (on Mac and Windows). Since I usually code at night when bright light is jarring, it makes coding that much more pleasant.

I love flux, but unfortunately it doesn't work with my USB monitor adapter[1], so when I try to use it at my desk I get two nicely tinted screens and one normal screen. When I'm just using my laptop on its own it's great!

[1]: http://www.diamondmm.com/BVU195.php

I've been using it for a while. Its been there for about a year so I must like it. Just be careful when doing any sort of ui design at night!

That's why it has a "disable for an hour" button! Design quick. ;)

is this extream timeboxing?

f.lux was written by a schoolmate/friend/investor of mine. Hooray!

I found actually confronting the sleep issues I had much better at fixing it. Late day caffeine (you have to stop drinking it by 5 to get it down to a reasonably low level by 12), overly bright bedroom and unpredictable sleep schedule were my issues.

The windows program was great for years (f.lux) though until I did the above.

There's also a great app called Nocture that can do color/monochromatic inversion, red-shifting, removing shadows, etc.


Open source: http://code.google.com/p/blacktree-nocturne/ Source:

Probably a good tool, but: I would avoid using a computer at all for an hour before going to sleep. For me, reading a book or Kindle is OK, but staring at a laptop screen has a bad effect on my sleep.

I'll give Flux a try however when I absolutely need to power on my laptop before trying to go to sleep.

Have been using it for a while, definitely a convert. I just wish there were a few more controls - it doesn't adjust for seasons, and I can't make it change its change strength if the lights are on vs off in the room. But that's not enough to make me stop using it.

I used it awhile back and while it took a few days to get used to it, I definitely found it easier on the eyes and helped with sleep.

That said, I reinstalled my system about 4 months ago and never realized that I had neglected to install F.lux until I saw this post.

Flux is great, but it isn't persistent. Every time I restart, I have to manually start flux. This seems to be a rather serious oversight.

Edit: apologies to anyone who read the unedited version of my post. The iPhone keyboard and detection algo is...imprecise.

There is a checkbox in the f.lux/Mac preferences labelled "Start Flux at login". Is that checked for you? If it is, and still doesn't work, try unchecking it, restart flux, and check it again.

It seems to be checke by default. Does the binary have to be in a particular location to work at startup (/Applications)?

I've been using F.lux for a while. I used to have it on the 20 second transition speed then I found I could set it to 60 minutes. Now I don't even notice the change but my eyes definitely do not strain as much as they used to at night.

My co-workers swear by Flux, mainly because they only code. But as the designer in the team, I'd have to disable it every time I'm working on a design.

I actually edit photos even while Flux is on. Eyes are amazing things; mine adjust to the new white balance and I can still judge colors reasonably well (ok, as well as I could before). Of course, these are just photos for Flickr, not for professional work, but when I compare the ones edited with Flux on and with Flux off, I can't tell the difference. In other words, might be worth a try anyway.

Your eyes adapt to the new color temperature very quickly. If you have a good-enough screen and/or you're not working on something with a lot of dynamic in the red spectrum, you should be fine. Even if not, you might still be just fine. I do photo post-processing with flux on and haven't seen a difference in the finished product, same for print and web design work. You get used to flux really quickly.

Im loving this app, if they could add weather settings to it so when it is raining/cloudy/overcast it bumps the monitor temperature that would rock!

Does this app help someone who spends most of his time looking at Emacs.app with a dark background and screen brightness turned all the way down?

Just started running this on a macbook, and it even works on my external lcd! where has this program been all my life?

I want to love F.lux, but everytime it kicks in my machine slows to an absolute crawl until it's done doing its thing.

Folk, what 'lighting at night' setting are you using?





I have daylight balanced bulbs at home so I'm using the Daylight setting. I thought that I was supposed to match them up. Or is it just a preference of color temperature? It would be nice if the UI included icons for the type of bulb so they are easily identified if for instance you don't know what a halogen bulb looks like.

in the night, while the lights in the room are on, open something white in your computer (i.e. a document). Take a piece of white paper and compare it to the white document on the screen. The correct setting is the one in which the background ("white") of the document on the screen looks most similar to the document in real life.


If you want to improve your sleeping you should expose yourself to less blue light before bedtime.

How difficult would it be to code something like this for iOS (through Cydia, of course)?

This is why I love HN. I find things here, which I never knew I needed so much.

I've been using it for a few months now. Love it.

does anyone have any actual screenshots or examples of the difference?

My eyes became tired in a few seconds after I launched this app. Warning: it hurts.

F.lux is great, and seemed to be very effective for me. However, it appears that you still can't postpone color change until a specific time I want my monitor staying at 6500K until around 8 or 9pm, year-round. F.lux leaves me sleepy by 6pm during the winter months.

You could change the settings to a location at the equator, and maybe one or two timezones to your west. (I understand that having more customizable settings would be a better alternative, but I thought I would offer up my hack).

I can't stand Flux and I tried it for 3 weeks before removing it.

I got laughed at right before our YC W11 interview for my 'sepia-tinted screen'. I live on the east coast, and my clock hadn't changed cause I was still tethering.

Flux on Windows unfortunately has trouble with a few games.

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