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How to make your iPhone screen darker than the lowest Brightness setting

Much as I appreciate the iPhone's blindingly bright LED screen in direct sunlight, it's not always the nicest sight to see in a nighttime environment. This is especially true for iPad pros and iPhone users alike who may need their device for use in darkened theaters or while surveying the night sky.

In short: When you need to use your iPhone or iPad without blinding yourself or nearby neighbors, sometimes iOS' lowest Brightness setting just doesn't cut it. But there's a better way, thanks to Apple's Accessibility settings.

How to make your iPhone darker than the lowest Brightness setting

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to General > Accessibility > Zoom.
  3. Enable Zoom.
  4. Set the Zoom Region to Full Screen Zoom.

  1. Tap on Zoom Filter.
  2. Select Low Light.

Your screen will immediately dim; from here, you can do more minor brightness adjustments from Control Center. (Those of you hoping for another way to save your battery life will sadly be disappointed, unfortunately; the screen "dimming" is actually just a filter, not a physical dimming of your screen.)

How to set up a shortcut for ultra-low brightness

Those six steps above are a nice time-waster and all, but you can make ultra-dimming your screen at any time a cinch by enabling Apple's Accessibility shortcut.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut.

  1. Select Zoom, if it's not already selected.

Now, whenever you wish to activate (or deactivate) Zoom's Low Light brightness setting, triple-press the Home button and press the Zoom button on the resulting pop-up.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments!

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

4 Comments
  • Very useful, thanks.
  • Isn't it better to use the "reduce white point " accessibility setting? It allows you to select how dim you want your screen to be.
  • Super useful tip, thanks. I'm not sure why you'd use "zoom" instead of "reduce white point" to accomplish that, though. You can use "color filters" and "reduce white point" to create a pretty good red-tinted darkroom/astronomy/etc. mode. That's something I really missed about my old Android; I had no idea until today you could do that in iOS.
  • Thanks for writing this article. I used to have this enabled on my iPad a long time ago but lost the ability with an update. I'm so happy it is back. I often read at night with my iPad and the dimmest setting is too bright. Sent from the iMore App