How to Invert Colors on iPhone and iPad

Reduce eye strain by adjusting your screen to emit less light

What to Know

  • iOS 12 or earlier: Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Invert Color. Tap Smart Invert or Classic Invert.
  • iOS 13 or later: Go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size and turn on Smart Invert or Classic Invert.

This article explains how to invert colors on the iPhone and iPad. One method applies to iOS 12 and earlier, and one method applies to iOS 13 and later. The Invert Colors setting differs from both Dark Mode and Night Shift available in recent iPhones and iPads.

How to Invert Colors on the iPhone and iPad

Some people prefer using inverted colors to reduce glare and eye strain. Other people invert colors to help with visual impairments. This could be something as common as color blindness or a more serious condition. iOS offers both Smart Invert, which reverses the colors of the display except for images, media and some other features, and Classic Invert, which reverses all the colors of the display.

Here's how to invert colors on your iOS device.

How to Turn on Invert Colors in iOS 12 and earlier

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Go to General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations.

    General, Accessibility, Display Accommodations in iOS Settings
  3. Tap Invert Colors, then choose either Smart Invert or Classic Invert.

    Invert Colors, Smart Invert, Classic Invert in iOS Settings
  4. The screen colors change immediately.

To undo the inverted colors setting on an iPhone or iPad and return the colors to their original settings, repeat the steps above. Tap the invert option again to turn the feature off and return the device colors to normal.

How to Turn On Invert Colors in iOS 13 and Later

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Select Accessibility.

  3. Tap Display & Text Size.

  4. Turn on Smart Invert.

    iPhone path to Smart Invert in iOS 14

    How to Quickly Turn Invert On and Off

    If you want to use invert colors regularly in iOS 12 and earlier, set up a shortcut. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and tap Accessibility Shortcut and select either of the invert options. (In iOS 13 and later, the path is Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut.)

    General, Accessibility, Accessibility Shortcut buttons in iOS Settings

    Choose which accessibility features you want (including Smart Invert Colors, Classic Invert Colors, or both) and leave the screen.

    Accessibility checkmarks, Smart Invert, Shortcuts on iOS

    Now, when you want to invert colors, triple-press the Home button (or the side button on iPhone X and newer) and choose the invert colors option you want to use.

    Is Invert the Same as Dark Mode?

    Dark mode is a feature of some operating systems and apps that changes the colors of the user interface from the standard bright colors to darker colors. These dark colors are more appropriate for night use and for avoiding eye strain. Changing the color can be done either manually by the user or automatically based on ambient light or time of day. 

    On older versions of the iOS, there wasn't a true dark mode function for iPhone or iPad. That changed in iOS 13. Read all about it in How to Enable Dark Mode on iPhone and iPad.

    The macOS also has a dark mode feature. On macOS Mojave or newer, you can turn your Mac's Dark Mode on or off.

    Are Invert and Night Shift the Same Thing?

    While both the Invert feature and Night Shift adjust the colors of the iPhone or iPad screen, they don't do it in the same way.

    Night Shift—a feature available on iOS and Macs—changes the overall tone of the colors on the screen by reducing blue light and making the tone of the screen yellow. This is thought to avoid the disruption of sleep that some people experience from using blue-tinted screens in the dark.

Was this page helpful?