How to Adjust the iPad's Brightness

The iPad control panel
The quick way of adjusting the brightness of the iPad's display is through the control panel.

Adjusting the brightness setting is a great way to save a little battery power, which will allow you to use your iPad for longer periods of time before it needs a charge. You may also want to adjust the brightness to compensate for glare when using the iPad outside or tone it down a little when reading at night.  

The iPad includes an auto-brightness feature which helps to adjust the iPad's brightness based on the surrounding ambient light, but sometimes this is not enough to get the display just right.

This is especially true if you use the iPad for many different tasks. Thankfully, there's a quick way to adjust the brightness without going into the settings and hunting for it.

The Quickest Way to Adjust Brightness Is in the Control Panel

Did you know the iPad has a control panel for quick access to music controls and common settings like Bluetooth and display brightness? It one of those hidden features people often overlook or never even learn about when using the iPad. 

  • First, open the iPad's Control Panel by sliding your finger from the very bottom edge of the screen up towards the top of the screen. The Control Panel will open as you move your finger upwards. Remember to start with your finger at the very edge of the display.
  • The brightness controls on the Control Panel are on the right, just above the quick access buttons to the Timer and the Camera. The slider works just like the slider in Settings, with moving it to the left decreasing the brightness and moving the button to the right increasing it.
  • You can also turn on Night Shift from the control panel. This setting will tone down the amount of blue light, which is great if you find it hard to fall asleep after using the iPad.

How to Adjust Brightness in Settings:

If for some reason you cannot access the control panel or you want to adjust the Auto-Brightness feature, you can tweak these in Settings.

  • Launch the Settings app. It's the icon that looks like gears turning. (Find out how to do this...)
  • Once inside of settings, scroll down the left-side menu and choose "Display & Brightness". If you have an older iPad, you may have a choice of "Brightness & Wallpaper". If that is the case, you may not see all of the same options, but you will be able to adjust the brightness.
  • You can adjust the brightness by moving the circular button to the left to make it less bright and to the right to make the screen more bright.
  • You can also adjust other settings such as Auto-Brightness, Text Size, and Bold Text. Auto-Brightness will detect the ambient light in the room and adjust the brightness of the display based on that light. However, it doesn't always strike the perfect balance for everyone, so if you don't like how it adjusts the display, you can turn it off.

What Is Night Shift?

The Display & Brightness settings also includes access to the Night Shift feature. While Night Shift is activated, the color spectrum of the iPad shifts to limit blue light with the aim of helping you get a better night's sleep after using the iPad.

If you don't want to flip the feature on and off via the Control Panel, you can schedule when it turns itself on or off.

From the Display & Brightness settings, tap on Night Shift to enter customize the feature. If you turn on schedule and then tap the From/To line, you will be able to manually set times for Night Shift to come one and to turn itself off. You can also choose "Sunset to Sunrise," which is great if you don't want to fiddle with it to compensate for the change of seasons.  

You can also adjust how 'warm' the color temperature gets when Night Shift is activated. If you like the feature but don't care for how it makes the iPad's display look, you can dial it back a little. Or, if you find yourself still having trouble sleeping, you can try making it a little warmer.

What About Text Size and Bold Text?

The Text Size option takes you to a screen allowing you to adjust the size of text when an app uses Dynamic Type. Not all apps use Dynamic Type, so this might not do you much good. However, if your eyesight is just bad enough to make you squint but not bad enough for you to use the Zoom feature, it's a good bet to adjust the text size. At the very least, it won't hurt.

Turning on Bold Text is another way to combat failing vision. It will cause most normal text to become bold, which makes it easier to see.

What is True Tone?

If you have a newer iPad like the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, you may see the option to turn True Tone on or off. True Tone is a new technology that tries to mimic the behavior of natural light on objects by detecting ambient light and adjusting the iPad's display. In real life, a piece of paper might range from very white under the artificial light of a light bulb to a little yellow under the sun and many ranges in between. True Tone tries to mimic this for the iPad's display. Read more about the True Tone feature.

Do you need True Tone turned on? Absolutely not. This is a feature that some will like and others won't think anything of it either way.

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