Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sideloading f.lux on iOS

f.lux, the excellent Mac display color adjuster, has not been available for iOS except via jailbreaking. Now, however, there is a way to sideload it (comments):

In Xcode 7, you can install apps directly to your iOS device with a free account from Apple. So we decided to make a beta version of f.lux for people to try.

It’s a few more steps than installing the app store, but there are plenty of harder things even on Pinterest. So, here’s how to get f.lux installed on your iOS device.

Note that although you are downloading an Xcode project, it’s not open source. You’re just using Xcode to codesign the app and install it on your device.

f.lux uses location services to figure out the light levels in your area. The iOS version has two settings, day and night, whereas the Mac version automatically uses a bedtime setting late at night. The iOS version does, however, have the manual Darkroom mode.

It seems crazy to me that apps like this need to use a network connection and push notifications just to ensure that they get periodic minimal background processing time.

Given that f.lux no longer requires jailbreaking, it’s not clear to me what’s keeping it out of the App Store. Presumably, it relies on an API that’s private.

Update (2015-11-11): It’s a bit disconcerting, but with f.lux installed my iPhone’s screen will turn on every once in a while. I think this is because it has to wake up the screen to change the colors. Also, I don’t like the way it makes the camera look.

Riccardo Mori has a photo showing the f.lux effect.

Update (2015-11-12): The updated FAQ suggests that you can avoid waking the screen by allowing notifications and notes that there is a bedtime mode; it just isn’t configurable yet. However, I found that with notifications enabled it still wakes up the display.

Update (2015-11-13): Jason Snell:

Here’s hoping that iOS 10 might offer a feature that makes f.lux unnecessary, but in the meantime the only way to use f.lux on iOS has been to jailbreak your devices and download it from the Cydia store.

Alas: Apple Forbids Sideloading Flux.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter


Perhaps I should port Gamma Control for iOS and distribute it the same way. But I'm pretty sure this goes against Apple's Xcode terms of use. As far as I'm aware Xcode only allows this for testing purposes.

>Given that f.lux no longer requires jailbreaking, it’s not clear to me what’s keeping it out of the App Store.

I think the obvious answer there is "Apple" :-)

(On Android, I use Twilight, which is in the app store: )

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