There are many free (non-libre) alternatives to Redshift available on Android. Here's our favorite: CF.lumen.


CAVEAT: Grip Fast Information Services & Technology would prefer to recommend true, libre software. If you are aware of a program that can be found in the F-droid respositories or available from GitHub that does what Redshift does on Android, please let us know!

Redshift is an example of open-source perfection: full disclosure, does its job really well, can be set up in less than 2 minutes from the command line, has a friendly GUI, autostarts and processing impact so small you will forget its even running. Blue filter color shifts are gradual, smooth, automatic and feel completely natural and warm. After a single day of use, you'll wonder how you and your eyes lived without it. We've even installed it on Windows (eww, gross). 

The most popular blue light filter application on Google Play is Twilight (Redshift isn't available on the Android platform). We aren't impressed with Twilight because of its usability. What we mean to say is that it's scope is too wide for a simple program that needs to do one thing, one thing only and then get out of the way. Lets review some of the pros and cons of Twilight:

CONS:

  • Not free-as-in-freedom/libre software. 

  • We don't like this additional required permission versus CF.lumen: access extra location provider commands

    • This app already has: 

      • 1) access extra location provider commands

      • 2) approximate location (network-based) 

  • Fussy UI/UX design (jarringly red/ugly and overly complicated). 

  • Scheduling wasn't obvious to us within 30 seconds (we spend config time elsewhere). 

  • No obvious changelog at the developers' website


PROS:

  • Free (as in free beer). 

  • Popular and likely supported for a long time. 

  • Support with other 'droid accessory devices (wearables). 

  • Manually specifiy color temperature in Kelvins. 


If you want a simplier application that is more akin to Redshift we prefer CF.lumen as stated above. Chainfire is the developer of this tool and if you have a rooted phone, you are probably aware of their SuperSU application. One could argue that granting additional permissions to the same developer is either another grain of sand on the same beach or an ever-widening gulf of non-security. Joking aside, lets review some of the pros and cons of CF.lumen:

CONS:

  • Not free-as-in-freedom/libre software. 

  • No automatic startup (paid version only). 

  • Notification nag (in top slide down) to buy paid version while running. 

  • Must restart manually after power off. 


PROS:

  • GUI is simple. 

  • Choose your own approximate location using Google Maps API (not Maps itself). 

  • Set once and forget. 

  • Gradual warm color shifting; feels like Redshift. 

  • Extensive changelog available on XDA Developers. 

  • APK available on XDA Developers. 


Here's a screen shot before CF.lumen and after on our favorite rooted Android device (yes, we root devices, contact us!):

Normal screen without any blue filtering or dimming applied.

The effects of CF.lumen feel just like RedShift on Linux

 

You will have to be the final judge on which blue light filter application is most appropriate for your use on Android and what level of configuration and permissions you are willing to undergo. There are many others available in the Google Play store such as Screen Filter, Blue Light Filter, Night Shift, etc. As always when installing mobile applications, look to F-droid first and free and open source software!

If you would like Grip Fast Information Services & Technology to review a mobile application your interested in or find the perfect libre software for your project please contact us, we'd love to help!

 

 

 

About the Writer
Chris Lessley
Author: Chris Lessley
A server admin, dev ops warrior and website designer since 2002, Chris is a lover of all things Linux and open-source! Each blog topic has been tested by fire in the real world and shared with the hope to help others. Need more help? Hire me! Chris' other interests include fine art and the humanities in the classical tradition and can be found writing for our friends over at gripfastart.works. If you like this content, kindly consider donating to keep this website free to all, without ads.

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