Apple

Pro tip: Dim your iOS screen with an accessibility setting trick

Accessibility tools included within iOS 8 can be used for more than just their intended goal. Cory Bohon looks at one such feature that can dim and brighten your device screen near instantaneously.

Brightness

Have you ever been in a dark environment and had to go through the process of dimming your screen by unlocking the device, opening the Control Center panel, and sliding the small screen dimmer slider down a little? And then you have to worry about upping the brightness as soon as the environment changes again. This process is more than a little cumbersome. Surely, there's a better way, right? Well, you'll be happy to know that there is a better way, and it involves a little hack with the included iOS 8 accessibility tools. Using this trick, you'll be able to dim or brighten your iOS device screen using only a triple-tap of the home button.

Let's take a look at how to do this hack on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to ensure that your screen is always the right brightness for your current environment.

Activating the setting

On your iOS device, perform the following steps to enable the accessibility function that will dim and brighten your device:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap General | Accessibility
  3. In the Accessibility settings, tap on Zoom
  4. Under zoom region, select Full Screen Zoom
  5. Enable the switch for Zoom in the Zoom settings (Figure A)

Figure A

Figure A

A feature of the zoom functionality will allow you to dim the screen when enabled.

This will cause your screen to zoom slightly, but we're going to fix that by doing this:

  1. With three fingers, tap the screen three times in quick succession
  2. Move the Zoom slider all the way to the left (unless you already rely on a zoomed level for the screen, in which case you can leave this setting untouched)
  3. Tap on the Choose Filter option (Figure B), then select the Low Light filter

Figure B

Figure B

You'll need to set the zoom to the minimum levels, unless you already rely on the zoom feature.

Once these settings have been set, tap anywhere outside of the dialog to dismiss it. Once you're finished applying the settings, you can disable the Zoom feature by moving the switch to the Off position.

Now, we'll need to enable the home button shortcut key to toggle this Zoom feature on and off, thereby dimming and brightening the screen. To do this:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap General | Accessibility
  3. Tap Accessibility Shortcut (Figure C), then select Zoom

Figure C

Figure C

Enabling the Accessibility Shortcut will automatically enable or disable the attached accessibility feature when the home button it triple-tapped.

This will set the Zoom shortcut toggle for the home button triple-click action. Now, let's take a look at how you can use this shortcut.

Using the dim shortcut

Once you've enabled all of the settings above, you can use the home button to toggle the zoom feature that has the Low Light filter applied to it. To do this, simply click the home button three times in quick succession. This will toggle on the dim if it's not enabled — or disable it, otherwise.

Now, there's no additional navigation needed to dim the screen when you need to. You can say "adios" to the Control Center when it comes to dimming and brightening your screen when your environment changes.

Do you have a tip or trick that involves the accessibility tools included in iOS 8? Share your knowledge in the discussion thread below.

About Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...

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