Dan Frakes, formerly of Macworld, took some time on Monday to write up a giant compendium of iOS 8 tips, tricks, and hints that he's compiled over his months beta-testing the operating system. There's a lot of good stuff in there for people interested in Mail shortcuts, Siri, and Safari, but my personal favorite new trick—and one I hadn't heard about until now—is how to dim the screen further than what Control Center allows.

Even dimmer screen dimming This one, also hidden in the Accessibility settings, seems minor, but I love it. I regularly read on my iOS devices at night before going to sleep. If I'm doing that reading in bed, the lights are out (because my better half is trying to sleep), so I turn the screen brightness all the way down. But iOS's dimmest screen-brightness level has never been dim enough—it's still uncomfortably bright when there's no ambient light. (Some reading-focused apps have nice night-reading modes, but not all.)

I read a lot on my iPhone at night, and when surrounded by others, that screen can sometimes be just a tad too bright. Frakes's trick—which uses Apple's Zoom accessibility settings—drops your iOS device's low brightness setting by an additional third, and it's easy to set up.

  1. Launch the Settings app
  2. Go to General > Accessibility > Zoom and turn Zoom on.
  3. Tap the screen three times with three fingers, which pops up the Zoom options window. (You can alternatively select Zoom under the Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut menu, which lets you triple-press the Home button instead of triple-tapping the screen.)

  4. Tap Choose Filter, then select Low Light, which will further darken your screen.
  5. Tap anywhere to close the Zoom options window.

From there, you can do more minor brightness adjustments from Control Center. This tweak is awesome for low-light reading, and I'm going to use it all the time. (Those of you hoping it's another way to save your battery life will sadly be disappointed, though: The screen "dimming" is actually just a filter, not a physical dimming of your iOS device's screen.)