Why True Tone?

When I first saw True Tone on my iPhone X I thought, “Why?” All it seems to do is make the display looking dimmer with a yellowish tint. I turned it off.

After getting my new iPhone 13 Pro today I feel the same way.

What was Apple thinking? And do any of you actually think True Tone looks nicer?

Is it supposed to be “calmer” or something after you get used to it?

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If you don’t like TrueTone, just shut it off. But you might want to try adjusting the brightness and color temperature before hitting the switch. There are adjustments you can easily make to get your screen the way you want it, and you can easily turn TrueTone on or off depending upon when you want to use it, if you want to use it:

There’s a good, quick video explanation of how TrueTone works here:

I happen to like TrueTone a lot.

It changes the wavelengths later in the day that tend to activate “alertness” areas of the brain. The decrease in blue wavelengths has a beneficial effect on sleep if you are one to read your phone later in the day.

I have it in on all my devices and you don’t notice it after a while, but I turn it off on my Mac if I am doing photography work.

That’s night shift, isn’t it, which is optional? I tried that for a bit, but just went back to plain True Tone all of the time. It doesn’t bother me. I believe it’s meant to adjust the display to match ambient lighting, right?

It seems I feel more comfortable with True Tone on my Mac. Turning it off is a bit too bright and glaring, while True Tone is more relaxed.

On my iPhone though it’s somehow different. Maybe I’ll try it and see if I get used to it.

Technically I know how it works. But I just don’t “get” what is nicer about it on my iPhone, which just looks faded out with it turned on.

Actually, True Tone looks nicer on my iPad Pro 11 inch as well. It looks too blue with it turned off.

Maybe it has to do with overall size. And I guess just personal impressions.

The Consumer Reports video posted recommended turning it on for reading and off for viewing photos and videos.

True Tone is an automatic adjustment for your display’s calibration.

If you don’t use it, then you will be getting whatever Apple’s default is for your display. You can fix this by manually creating a custom calibration profile. There are some (pretty expensive) hardware/software systems for this, or you can use a basic one built-in to macOS:

  • Go to System Preferences → Displays → Color
  • Click Calibrate… for a basic calibrator. Hold down Option when clicking it to get a check-box to enable expert mode.
  • Follow the instructions to create and save a new display profile

Once this is done, you can select your profile in the Displays preference panel. If you have multiple displays, create a separate profile for each one.

You may want to do this even when you are using True Tone, because it will use your profile as the baseline for its adjustments.


My understanding of it is that the brain plays it’s part too. Gradually your brain adjusts (we say our eyes adjust but it’s the brain that’s shifting gears) and you see it as ‘normal’. It is supposed to have positive mental health benefits.

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It looks split about 50-50 in a poll I started in an iPhone group on Facebook. As for myself, I have True Tone on my iPhone turned off, but on on my iPad and MBP.


I have/had it on all all my Macs and iPhones. While I’m not always convinced the iPhone gets the brightness adjustment quite right, the color tone would definitely be off without TrueTone. Too blue in most settings.

I also hateTrueTone and have it turned off. However, my iPhone 11 ProMax does what IT wants and at night, I always have to adjust the brightness manually in control center, as it has it turned all the way down with that yellowish light on the screen, which I also hate. A pain! When you set a control manually, the system should not override it.

It sounds like your iPhone 11 Pro Max has Night Shift enabled, not True Tone. True Tone adjusts the display based on the lighting conditions detected by a sensor, Night Shift adjusts the display based on the time of day, regardless of lighting conditions. Both are configured in the Display & Brightness settings.


You’re right and I’ve adjusted that, thanks. But my iPhone still changes brightness completely on its own and I’m constantly having to up it in control center.

Automatic brightness is a separate feature. You can turn it off here:

Settings → Accessibility → Display & Text Size

At the bottom of that screen is a setting for “Auto-Brightness”. With that turned off, the brightness will not change based on ambient light. You will need to manually adjust brightness.

I recommend leaving this feature turned on. You may disagree, but here’s my experience:

My iPod Touch doesn’t have this feature (no ambient light sensor hardware), so I need to manually dim the display when I’m in a dark room to avoid getting blinded by the screen.

Worse is when I’m outdoors in daylight and the brightness is all the way at the bottom (e.g. because I was last using it at night in bed, in a dark room). The brightness is so low that nothing can be seen at all. I need to find a dark location where I can see the screen in order to access the control center to make it brighter. Likewise for the lock-screen’s keypad.

I would really like auto-brightness on my iPod. :slight_smile:

Already had the auto-brightness turned off. Still does it.

That may be because of TrueTone if you have it turned on.

True Tone,* which is on by default, uses advanced sensors to adjust the color and intensity of your display to match the ambient light, so that images appear more natural.

If you turn off True Tone, the display keeps color and intensity constant, regardless of changes in the ambient light.

Also I believe that the iPhone will darken the display temporarily when the phone is drawing a lot of power to help save battery and/or prevent a shut down if the battery cannot supply enough power, or if you have low power mode turned on.

No to both. TrueTone is not on. No heavy power draw situation or low battery.

If True Tone is not on, and automatic brightness is not on, you might want to get Apple to do a remote diagnostic of your iPhone and see if there is a hardware problem.

Just one note: Immediately after upgrading to my iPhone 13 Pro I noticed the screen would go dimmer than set. While I do have auto brightness turned on, it seemed to be changing under the same lighting conditions.

Apple did a hardware check and couldn’t find anything.

But it hasn’t happened since.

My guess is some power saving mode while continuing the long, laborious task of syncing everything up from my old iPhone X.

Could you be using extra syncing/power at different times that might cause the effect you are seeing?

No. This is a quick check of email a few times in the middle of the night under 100 percent power. No syncing is taking place nor have I recently done any synching to this iPhone.

If the lighting is changing under those circumstances with all auto features off you should have Apple do a remote diagnosis of the hardware I think.