In its October 2021 Xbox update
, Microsoft rolled out a few new features to various Xbox devices. One of these was Night Mode, an exciting new feature that may be flying under the radar for many gamers. Night Mode has the potential to improve the quality of life for many gamers and has important accessibility ramifications.
Here’s everything you need to know about Night Mode, plus how to enable it on your Xbox.
What Is Night Mode?
Night Mode is an optional group of settings that work together to lower light sources on the console, controller, and connected display. When you enable Night Mode, your Xbox will automatically switch to dark mode. Then you can adjust the brightness of the various light sources. Night Mode also includes an optional blue light filter, creating a color shift similar to how many smartphones operate after sundown.
Night Mode allows you to modify your gaming experience with dimmer lighting and a shifted color palette, but it doesn’t affect performance. Also, screenshots and video clips render normally; they don’t look oddly dim or color-shifted.
Again similar to how the feature works on major smartphone OSes, you can set the Xbox Night Mode to run automatically on a schedule (say, 8 pm until 6 am). You can also manually toggle the feature on or off as needed.
What Are the Benefits of Night Mode?
There are two primary benefits of Night Mode: user experience and accessibility.
Sometimes, gaming sessions extend late into the night. If you’re in a dedicated gaming space, a little extra light isn’t a problem, exactly. But if you’re gaming in a shared space, all that intense light could bother the non-gamers in your space.
Even if you’re not bothering anyone else, the darker it gets around you, the harsher all that light coming from your attached display is going to feel.
Night Mode is a way to tone down all the light sources associated with your Xbox. It’s a great way to be considerate of others in your space — or simply to save your own eyes from the strain of too much ambient light.
Another great aspect of Night Mode is the ways it can increase the accessibility of the Xbox experience. For example, some people deal with sensitivity to light, either periodically or constantly. Night Mode allows users to customize how much light is coming from various sources, potentially opening up a world of Xbox gaming to some individuals who couldn’t otherwise handle the brightness.
Which Xbox Consoles Can Use Night Mode?
Microsoft hasn’t made this clear, simply stating that the feature is coming to “all Xbox consoles
.” Unfortunately, what this means isn’t well defined: It’s extremely unlikely that the feature extends back to the early 2000s original Xbox, of course. But the company clearly means something more than just the Xbox Series X and Series S, given the following careful exclusion.
While Microsoft wasn’t exhaustive in explaining which consoles get Night Mode, it was clear about one thing: not every feature in Night Mode extends across console generations. For example, the customizable blue light filter is limited to the newer Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, likely due to the additional processing necessary to achieve the effect.
The Night Mode update likely extends to the previous generation. But if you’re still running anything older than that, you’ll have to open up your console settings and check.
How to Enable Night Mode
To enable Night Mode, open the guide (typically by pressing the Xbox button on your controller). Night Mode is hidden in the Accessibility menu, so navigate there (Profile & system, Settings, Accessibility, Night mode).
You can choose between manually toggling Night Mode on and off or setting a schedule. Note that if you’re using a VPN or proxy in a different time zone, the sunrise and sunset setting isn’t going to work properly. Also, Night Mode may or may not be able to accurately control brightness on third-party controllers.
Make sure to check out the Preferences section before you leave the guide. That’s where you’ll define what you want Night Mode to look like on your console.
Toggle Night Mode from Quick Settings
Quick Settings is another update included in the October release, allowing you to access certain settings without exiting your game. Night Mode is one of the available options in Quick Settings.
To access Quick Settings, press the Xbox button on your controller, then go to Profile & system. Next, press the Quick settings button, then toggle Night mode with the A button.
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No matter what time of day you prefer to game, you can protect your Xbox console with a video game console protection plan
from Upsie. Whether your Xbox goes haywire due to a component failure or because you accidentally drop the entire console, Upsie has your back. Choose from two or three years of coverage, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re not on the hook for any major repairs.
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