Update: Screen Brightness f.lux Now Available Without Jailbreaking

Last month we wrote about the screen brightness adjuster f.lux, a Cydia tweak available on jailbroken iPhones and iPads. The purpose of f.lux was to turn down the extreme brightness and blue tones of your device’s screen, particularly at night, when the brightness hurts your eyes. At the time f.lux was only available for jailbroken phones.

But now f.lux has announced that it has made the app available without jailbreaking your device. How is this possible? As you recall, when Apple combined its Mac developer and iOS programs, it made some changes in its requirements. Specifically, the company dropped the requirement that you had to be a registered developer to load apps from Xcode to your iOS device. The change was made to encourage more developers to create apps, but it also had the practical effect of making open source iOS apps available to anyone who wanted to install it on a device.

f.lux has released an open source iOS version of its popular app, which is available for download by anyone with an eligible device.

How to Install F.Lux

f.lux has provided detailed instructions for downloading and installing f.lux on your iOS device. According to f.lux, you need the following requirements to begin:

  • Mac, OSX 10.10 or greater
  • 1 installed version of Xcode 7
  • 1 Developer account (use your AppleID)
  • 1 Download, f.lux for iOS, unzipped

From there, you take the following steps:

First, mix the build ingredients together.

Second, open the “iflux.xcodeproj” project in Xcode.

Third, open Xcode, go to Preferences, then Accounts and enter your iCloud or developer credentials.

Fourth, under Targets > iflux > General > Identity, add a word to the end of the Bundle Identifier to make it a unique name.

Fifth, in the same place, under Identity > Team, select your iCloud account or Developer profile.

Then connect your iPhone or iPad and load the iflux build:

  • From the Xcode Product menu, choose Destination and select your iOS device (f.lux doesn’t work in a Simulator)
  • Push Cmd-R when you’re ready to have f.lux
  • When you first run, you’ll be prompted to open Settings > General > Profile on your device, and trust your developer account
  • Run again, and allow location and notifications (things don’t work so well without both of these)

According to f.lux, the reason you load the app this way is to ensure there are no automatic updates or fixes. The version will do a daily update check. When an update becomes available, a message will appear at the bottom of the app, which keeps you in the loop when f.lux fixes bugs.

Why F.Lux Isn’t in the App Store

Those of you who are thinking it would be simpler to just offer the app in the App Store are correct. However, Apple’s store guidelines prohibit use of private APIs and prevent apps from running constantly in the background, making f.lux ineligible for inclusion in the app store.

Although installation is not as easy as it is for apps downloaded from the Store, it is still a fairly simple process. It is also better for your device than jailbreaking, especially now when there has not yet been a public jailbreak available to hack the most recent version of iOS.

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