#madeforiOS: How to dim your iPhone for night use

Originally posted here 14 January 2016

We’ve used our iPhones at night and wanted to put sunglasses on – but we’re not Corey Hart. Did you know that staring at a bright screen before bed affects your sleep cycle? Apple is addressing this with an amazing UX feature in the next iOS update – but if you want to use it now, we have a work around for you.

Here’s how Night Shift works:
“Many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. Night Shift uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings. Pleasant dreams,” from Apple’s iOS 9.3 Preview

As John Brownlee so expertly said in his write up of Night Shift for Fast Design Co: “The human sleep cycle is uniquely sensitive at night to the blue light that is emitted by most screens, with the American Medical Association recommending that those with sleep disorders minimize their time with screens before bedtime, or using dim red lighting to minimize the effect. That’s because as it gets darker, our eyes expect to see warmer light: for example, the reddish light of a candle, a fire, or a sunset, as opposed to the blue light of daytime.”

We’ve often found ourselves blinded trying to use our iOS at night – whether it’s checking an iMessage at 2:00 AM, or trying to read on a dark flight. This is actually an accessibility feature that allows you to turn the screen brightness down a little further when it seems blinding. (Thanks, Dan Frakes, for telling us about this feature in a write up of his favorite iOS 8 features!) So, here’s how to dim your screen:

1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom.
2. Enable Zoom.
3. Tap the screen three times with three fingers. This brings up a zoom-options popover.
4. Tap Choose Filter, and then tap Low Light. The screen will dim considerably.
5. Tap outside the popover to dismiss it.
6. Make sure Zoom Region, a bit lower on that screen, is set to Full Screen Zoom. (It was for me, but some readers report that it wasn’t for them.)
7. Disable Zoom to restore the screen to its normal brightness.
8. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and choose Zoom.

Now, whenever you triple-press the Home button, you’ll toggle this “extra dimming” mode on or off. (If you selected multiple Accessibility Shortcut options, you’ll instead see a popover listing those options; tap one to toggle it.) Note that the brightness level of your “extra dimmed” screen is relative to your screen’s current brightness setting, which means that if you want it really dim, you should use Control Center to reduce brightness to the lowest level, and then triple-press the Home button. The result is a screen that’s much dimmer than you’ve probably seen before, and thus much better for use in the dark.

(Interestingly, this dimmed mode really is a screen filter, rather than a further dimming of the screen. You can see this if you rotate your device 90 degrees—as the screen switches orientations, the filter rotates more slowly than the rest of the screen, revealing the screen’s actual brightness level for a fraction of a second.)

The accessibility feature might not be as robust as Apple’s solution, but it’s one you can start using tonight. Should we know about a feature that you love? Tell us on twitter!

Origins: BookArc’s Cable Catch

Originally published here on 21 January 2016
BookArc was the first product we released when we started in 2009. BookArc lets you conveniently use your MacBook with a large external monitor, extended keyboard, and mouse, for a more comfortable work setup utilizing a little-known feature called closed-clamshell mode. Working off of a single monitor increases focus, minimizes workspace clutter and even speeds up display performance by dedicating 100% video memory to a single display.

Before BookArc, using your computer in closed-clamshell mode left your MacBook laying flat, taking up valuable space. But with a BookArc, your MacBook is lifted vertically off of your desk, while silicone inserts with built-in cable management hooks underneath secure any loose power cords or adapters. It freed up additional space and made using the MacBook closed neater.

When we redesigned BookArc in 2015, we designed BookArc with the latest MacBooks in mind, giving BookArc a much smaller footprint. Slimming down meant rethinking BookArc’s cable management – a necessary feature we didn’t want to lose. So we designed the aluminum arc- not the inserts- to do the cable management. BookArc’s feet were redesigned designed to hold your cables in place when you unplug your Mac and go- we call it Cable Catch.

Click here to learn more about BookArc and closed clam-shell mode. What’s your favorite Twelve South feature? Tell us on Twitter!

#TheTwelve things I love this Valentine’s Day: the extended cut

Written for Twelve South’s round up, #TheTwelve.

President’s Day weekend is usually one of the coldest weekends of the year in our hometown, Charleston, South Carolina. Although it’s still cold, Phil predicted an early spring. For February’s The Twelve, we’re loving bright colors, natural and unnatural scenes.

After reading this Gear Patrol post on Platform, we can’t wait to get one in Charleston.

Joshua Budich’s illustrations of pop culture food and drink made us smile.

The Ancient Origins of Your Obsession with Adult Coloring Books  is an interesting, in-depth look at what might be considered a fad. It goes in depth about flow, sand mandalas, and how coloring clears the mind.

Tthe entire article is interesting, and brings up great points about getting into creative flow. A certain phrase struck me as particularly poignant: “experiencing a mindlessness born from mindfulness on a task.” It’s something I miss about writing and hope to get back to it – the inner mind connecting directly with my keyboard, untangling knots I didn’t know were there.

These unexpected combinations from Paul Fuentes have us looking at things differently.

We’re all taking Knozen‘s minute personality test – it’s pretty accurate, fun, and nice to look at.

The trait I had the highest score for was patience, with a 10/10. Then caring and brainy, tied at 8. Shy and confident, both 7s. Serious I scored poorly, 3, with a score of 0 for being aggressive. Be, aggressive, be be, aggressive.

We love this infographic about how to live like a creative. We sent it to our creative team, who found it surprisingly accurate.

This outlines my entire day and I thought it was bizarre. Although I’m glad I’m not the only one working these hours.

NASA’s jet propulsion lab is giving away downloads of their 14 travel posters for extraterrestrial vacation spots.

We’re missing being out in nature, so this Anne Boysen-designed sofa and these Alexandra Kehayoglou wool rugs are bringing the great outdoors inside.


Speaking of space, Charlie Lloyd’s gif of a day on earth is amazing.

We’re planning on reading 50 books in 2016.

I just need to decide what to read.

Twelve ways to celebrate clean off your desk day

#theTwelve ways to celebrate clean off your desk day!
Originally posted here on 11 January 2016

Photo by Minimal Setups

January 11th is clean off your desk day. So to observe the holiday, we’ve compiled twelve tips, tricks, apps, and products to help you clean off your desk.

If you’re in a time crunch, you can neaten up with Apartment Therapy’s “How to Be Able to Clean Your Desk in 5 Minutes”

This perpetual calendar is an awesome replacement for your outdated 2015 calendar.

Use HiRise for iMac under your iMac or Apple display to get some additional height and use it to tuck away odds and ends.

Cable management is a subtle touch that gets taken for granted. Use binder clips as cable catches, and use velcro straps to take care of and tidy up unnecessary lengths of cord.

Need the inspiration to clean your desk? This infographic from Learnstuff will have you cleaning in no time.

A huge part of our desk is, of course, our Macs, and digital clutter can be just as stressful as physical clutter – we’re deleting unnecessary files and folders, cleaning out our trash.

Once our cluttered desktops are sorted out, we’re going to tackle our emails with Cloud Magic, the email client that’s now for Mac.

Want a way to get your MacBook off your desk when you’re not using it? Store it vertically in a BookArc!

Business News Daily talked to managers and HR professionals to find out what your boss actually thinks of your disorganized desk, and gives some easy first steps to get your desk straightened up.

Use the inspiration from today to learn more about the queen of tidying – we like “Marie Kondo will change your life” from New York Magazine.

If you need visual inspiration for your clean desk, check out Poppin’s Work Happy board and Minimal Set Ups.

Have any organizing tips or tricks we missed? Tell us about it on Twitter! Does your Twelve South gear help you organize your desk? Tag us on Instagram!