f.lux has been one of the first apps I install on any new Mac installation for years. If you haven’t discovered this amazing free app I urge you to:
- go download it now
- set it up correctly for your timezone, indoor lighting and wake/sleep patterns
- then live with it for a few days.
You may or may not not immediately feel any positive effects on your sleeping patterns but try abruptly turning it off late one night and grock the effects it has on your eyes.
After having used it on my portable and desktop computers for years, I’ve grown to feel very strongly about the effect of blue light at night time on my circadian sleep patterns, and research aside, the visceral unease I feel when it’s not being suppresed is plain jarring.
Yeah but can I run it on iOS?
That’s great you say, but it’s my iPhone or iPad I really use late at night, often in bed before I go to sleep – can I install it on iOS?
For years you have!
…but only on jailbroken devices. For whatever reason, the APIs that require this have not been permitted into the official build of iOS.
There was a time I jailbroke all my iOS devices, the alternative installer platform of Cydia is a veritable petri dish of all boundaries that can be pushed on the operating system. Much like the official App Store, there is an awful lot of chaff and a little bit of wheat. One of those kernels of wheat has undeniably been f.lux for iOS.
Many times during the cat and mouse games between jailbreak community exploits and iOS updates I have considered doing it again but don’t want either the hassle, inability to update to shiny new and break it all, or to a lesser extent the potential security issues.
A (non-blue) light at the end of the tunnel quickly extinguished
While scanning my RSS feeds this week, my heart lept when I read that f.lux could now be sideloaded into iOS via Xcode 7! Promptly did I add that to my reading list to action in the next few days.
Errr…that turned out to be a few days too late as I was tremendously dismayed to find out it had already been pulled by Apple!!
What is sideloading?
Sideloading is the process of installing an app outside of the official Apple App Store. The initial purpose of this was both for developer testing as well as the ability for enterprise to install apps that are not for public use. Often these do not need to use any unofficial APIs (Application Program Interfaces) but simply are not allowed by Apple like Popcorn Time, or only for need to know enterprise use – such as UBER’s Partner app (don’t really bother to install this as it’s non-functional unless you are a registered UBER driver). That’s right, the Uber Passenger app (iPhone) wouldn’t even function if it wasn’t for sideloading.
Then there is the possibility with Xcode 7 to sideload from the computer expressly for developer testing of code. As with f.lux it can even use non-included APIs the developer can include and test themselves (or others can as it turns out).
What can you do?
- Find a friend who already downloaded the file.
- Find it on some underground download source…once something is released on the internet it can never be completely removed 😉 (Don’t ask me where, I don’t actually have it)
- More importantly, voice your concern directly with Apple by leaving some feedback.
Hopefully if enough voices are heard, an amicable resolution can be found to allow this valuable app to legitimately run on iOS.