I use Smart Invert (Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Invert Colors > Smart Invert) extensively. But when I enable Smart Invert colors become slightly dull, especially reds, see image:

Left: with smart invert. Right: no invert.

On the left is the Health icon with Smart Invert, on the right is the Health icon without smart invert. The icon on the right is slightly brighter. The effect is really visible when you toggle Smart Invert a couple times while on the home screen.

This is on an iPhone 8+, on a brand new installation of iOS 11.2.1. I have no color filters enabled and True Tone and Nightshift are turned off. My iPad Air, that doesn't have True Tone doesn't have the problem.

I want this effect to go away, ideally the icons on the home screen look exactly the same with of without smart invert. Also, I'm using icons as an example, but the effect is visible everywhere, also on photos or YouTube videos for instance, which is a bit annoying.

2 Answers 2


This may or may not be related to how smart invert and neither night shift NOR true tone can operate together. Try your comparison with night shift off?

Edit: I tested it some more, and although true tone being off affects the tone a lot, the visual hues of non-inverted items in smart invert do look a lot more desaturated and just generally poopy. I think there is some incorrect colorspace handling going on in here.

When I take a screenshot in smart invert mode, the actual saved image appears to be truly inverted. this seems to indicate to me that under the hood everything does get inverted, and smart invert actually goes in and re-inverts some of the things back that it thinks shouldn't have gotten inverted. This process is likely what fails to bring colors back to their original vibrance.

  • That is exactly what I was thinking. The fact that screenshots don't have the flaw is very annoying, as I had to make an actual photo of the screen in which the effect is much less pronounced. Anyway, I have reported the bug at Apple and am still experiencing it, unfortunately.
    – Blubber
    Apr 26, 2018 at 6:13

It definitely has something to do with True Tone, because devices without TT like the 5S run Smart Invert with vibrant colors. When you disable True Tone through settings, you aren't fully disabling it, just permanently setting the display to a cool temperature, where as Smart Invert seems to fully disable True Tone, resulting in dull colors.

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