Enable “night mode” to save your vision

iPad Night Mode

iPad Night ModeIf you’ve ever pulled up an approach plate on your iPad at night, you know how bright it can be–the nearly all-white chart is like shining a flashlight directly into your eyes. It’s certainly not good for your night vision. While most aviation apps have a dimming feature built-in, even this is usually insufficient.

Fortunately, the iPad has an extremely handy feature built in that allows you to invert the colors on the screen. While it can make some charts look a little odd (sectionals), it is perfect for approach plates.

Here’s how to enable it:

  1. Go to the Settings icon on the iPad.
  2. You’ll be at the “General” selection on the left by default; scroll down on the right side and select “Accessibility”.
  3. Select the “Triple-click Home” option now at the bottom of the list.
  4. Select “Invert Colors” from the list, and you’ll see a check mark at the right when it’s selected (this is labeled ‘White on Black’ for those that haven’t updated to iOS 6 yet).

Now, when you click the home button three times quickly (circular button on the lower front of the iPad), you’ll invert the colors of the screen. This makes for a much better low-light viewing experience at night in the cockpit. This works for every app that runs on your iPad, so you may find other uses for it too.

8 replies
  1. Adam Saadeh
    Adam Saadeh says:

    I’ve been looking for something like this. Only wish it was black or. Red or red on black. But nevertheless this is awesome, thanks a lot bro. You’d be surprised how hard this was to find.
    Again thanks a lot

    Adam Saadeh

  2. Hilton
    Hilton says:

    No this is not “perfect for approach plates”, it is dangerous. Those big orange mountains that can kill you will look like nice flat blue lakes. Find an app that can invert colors and keep those mountains orange; such as WingX Pro7 (full disclosure: I wrote the code to invert approach charts correctly without using this dangerous short-cut).

    Adam, red on black is a good idea. We could add that option to WingX Pro7 – thanks.

    Hilton

  3. Jim Petterson
    Jim Petterson says:

    Ease off the self-promotion there, Hilton. Nobody wants to read that.

    I think you’re being awfully dramatic by saying it’s dangerous to invert the colors. I use this tip all the time and it works great. It’s a lot better than being blinded by your screen.

    What would be dangerous would be to depend on your iPad for obstacle avoidance. It’s supposed to be a backup for the panel equipment.

    • Hilton
      Hilton says:

      Jim,

      My post was not intended as self-promotion. How many pilots would suddenly go buy WingX Pro7 because of that post – my guess about zero. The point here, as a pilot, and in my opinion, when I’m flying (probably IMC given the thread) at night which has a lot more added risks than day, higher workload, etc etc etc, having a big blue area that could be confused as being a lake is dangerous. Little issues turn into huge issues very quickly. I was once acting as safety pilot late in the day. The pilot started complaining that he was battling to see the instruments (he was under the hood). I suggested he find the light switch and turn up the brightness. After some fumbling he did. He said it helped, but not enough. Things got worse, he was getting distracted and was almost giving up on flying. Things were going downhill pretty quickly. As a CFI, I let it go on as long as I could until finally he effectively gave up. At that point I said: “Why don’t you take off your sunglasses?” Small things quickly lead to fatal accidents.

      Hilton

  4. Doug Hansell
    Doug Hansell says:

    I don’t know for sure – but Red on Black may not work. If you’ve ever seen a powerpoint presentation wherein the slides had red letters on a black background you might note the words are very hard to see.
    Test this carefully before moving forward.

  5. Hilton
    Hilton says:

    Thanks Doug, good, feedback. If we added the ‘red’ capability, it would be an option. In fact, our very first version of WingX (running on a Windows Mobile mobile device) gave the user the option of white, red, green, and blue – perhaps overkill, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. 🙂

    Hilton

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