At night, in the dark, even at its dimmest setting, my iPhone 4S is still bright enough to annoy my wife. I've searched all over for an app or setting tweak that would let me go "dimmer than dim". But no app seems able to do that and the only tweaks I've seen are for jailbroken phones (mine is not).

Does anyone know how I can make the screen dimmer?

  • 4
    press the button on top of the iPhone
    – FLY
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 13:13

9 Answers 9


By definition, the software only allows certain brightness levels so only by modifying that software (jailbreak or perhaps Apple changes things) can you go dimmer.

There are many apps that use the colors and draw dimmer text (Instapaper uses black background at night and many stargazing apps only draw in red). You could try using the accessability features to invert the white / black system wide. Even though the screen is still as bright, the largely black screen will block most of the light from escaping. You can even set the triple press of the home button to toggle this rapidly.

Lastly, there are 3M polarized privacy screens (watch for vertical or horizontal privacy - most only work in one direction) to help solve the light escaping to your side issue.

If she is seeing the light reflect off of you, you're going to have to look for other options. Psychologically, most people can fall asleep with light, but light and motion or light and noise are much harder to sleep with. Hopefully it's just the light as you might just need to drop the phone or move to another location if it's not really the light that's the source of the irritation.

  • (I'm the OP) Yeah, Instapaper's (and others') techniques are fine for reading apps. But I was more concerned with "mega" dimming screen brightness system-wide. I watch videos (sound via earphones) and it's their brightness, even at the lowest setting, that bothers her.
    – user249493
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 18:22
  • Well - the black/white inversion won't help much for videos and might make it worse. You might really like a landscape polarized film in this case. I've heard people make do with a pillow to block the light too.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 18:25

If you find the minimum brightness still too bright for night-time reading, Apple has finally added a screen filter in iOS 8. Typically Android offered a way to reduce the minimum brightness via apps when the screen was still too bright for nighttime reading even when set to zero but now you can enable this in iOS:

  1. Go to Settings → General → Accessibility → Zoom.
  2. Enable Zoom.
  3. Triple-tap on the screen to bring up zoom options.
  4. Choose filter: low light.
  5. Go back to Settings → General → Accessibility → Zoom and change the zoom region to full screen.
  6. Turn Zoom off.
  7. Go to Settings → General → Accessibility → Accessibility Shortcut and set it to Zoom.

Now when you push your home button 3 times quickly it will dim the entire screen for night-time reading.

  • 1
    This is by far the best answer. It's system wide instead of app-specific. Does not require jailbreak. Also, once implemented it's incredibly easy to turn on and off whenever you want. Easier even than the android apps that do the same thing. Thanks!
    – ogoldberg
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 14:27

Without jailbreak, it's not possible.

I can even generalize and say that no app will ever be allowed to modify such system preferences.


I often use "Night web browser by Alex" when I'm in bed and my girlfriend is trying to sleep. It dims the screen much more then iPhone can normally.

  • This will work assuming that the OP is only interested in web browsing. It won't help with any other apps though.
    – daviewales
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 22:40

You could also invert colors: Settings > general > accessibility > invert colors

All white will become black!


wait for iOS 6, at least I think the dim function is improved since I installed iOS 6 ( I switched from a Jailbroken iOS 5 to 6 so I'm not 100% sure )


I dont know if you are still having the problem, but I use the Dolphin Browser on my iphone and it has a "night mode" feature that makes the screen pretty dark. Maybe that would be helpful. Thats for a non-jailbroken phone. I believe it was free also! My phone is jailbroken & I also had the same problem so I downloaded a tweak called f.lux. It doesnt necessarily make the screen dark...it has settings for day & night which have adjustments that give it a dimmer more orangey halogen light for night instead of the bright white like in the new energy saving bulbs. You can adjust that setting along with the brightness setting on your phone to get it dimmer and not so annoying. It will dim everyday at a certain time( like 5 or 6pm) and goes back to your preset day settings in the morning. I found it to be pretty helpful. Im not sure if it can be installed on a non-jailbroken phone though since I got it from Cydia. I can try & research it and let you know..if you are interested.


In iOS 8, there is a way to use Accessibility to drop your brightness below the minimum setting (without jailbreaking). I wrote a guide here: https://medium.com/@searls/how-to-make-your-iphone-dimmer-than-dim-d20fd3bbbb66


I would think that, since videos are mainly what you're doing, night browser is your best bet. It lets you go very dark and do anything safari can do (including go to YouTube and play your vids in QuickTime player). For just navigating around, if you go into your accessibility settings, you can make it so that a triple-tap of the home button inverts colours-it's a very easy shortcut.

  • Do you have a link to what you are recommending?
    – grg
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 15:30

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