Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium’s OneZero. Read more.
More professional (and personal) interactions are happening via Zoom and other video-calling apps, and it doesn’t look like that’ll be changing anytime soon. The same as an in-person meeting or date, it’s important to look your best on video calls. Here’s how to work it for your webcam.
Find Better Lighting
In a professional broadcast studio, the cameras aren’t what make people look good—it’s the lighting. It doesn’t matter how much money the producers throw at expensive lenses, they can’t make anyone presentable if the lighting is terrible. The same is true at home.
Now, we’re not advocating that you invest your life savings in a 10,000-lumen studio lighting setup. However, you can pick a spot in your home for video calls that has good lighting.
You want to avoid overhead lights because they cast weird shadows and highlights on your face. They also tend to throw off the overall balance.
An example of bad lighting. Don’t look at my shiny forehead!
Backlighting is bad, too. You’ll appear dark and shadowy against a too-bright background. Compensating with a light in front of you doesn’t help much, either.
Backlighting isn’t a strong look for me—or anyone.
What you’re looking for is a spot with nice, even frontlighting. The easiest place to find it is in front of a big window.
In front of a window, things look a lot better.
This is one of the best “photography hacks” to look good, whether you’re taking a selfie or doing a professional presentation. Just find the biggest, brightest window in your home and set up in front of it. You’ll look better than anyone else on the call!
Raise Your Camera
Nobody’s best angle is looking up from below their chin, but that’s probably where your laptop’s webcam is. Computer manufacturers prioritize minor things, like practicality and price, over your on-camera appearance.
To look your best, you want your webcam to be at (or just above) eye-level. That’s how people normally see you in person, and it’s what they subconsciously expect.
Look at how much better my jawline looks with the camera at eye-level.
To get your camera up to eye-level, you can invest in a laptop stand or go old-school and stack some books underneath it. If you’re using your smartphone, prop it against whatever you have on hand or get a small tripod.
You might also want to get an external keyboard and mouse if you’re going to need your computer while you’re on a call.
Look at the Camera (and Dim Your Screen)
Eye contact is hugely important in Western culture. We’re suspicious of people who can’t maintain it or constantly look away. Unfortunately, the way video calls are set up, it’s impossible to make real eye contact. If you look at someone’s eyes onscreen, that person sees you looking down.
Look at this friendly guy; he wouldn’t sell you a timeshare.
While you won’t be able to maintain it all the time, if you’re presenting or talking a lot, you want to create the illusion that you’re looking at your audience. So, do look directly at your webcam as much as possible. It’s hard to do this with all the distractions onscreen, but here are a few things you can do:
- Hide or minimize the preview of you: I use mine as a mirror, and I know I’m not alone. It’s easy to find yourself checking your hair.
- Dim your screen: Unless you absolutely need to see everyone, try this. It’s more useful to create the illusion that you’re looking at people than to actually look at anyone.
Test Your Internet Connection
Video chats require a reasonably fast, very stable internet connection. It doesn’t matter how good you look on your webcam if all your Wi-Fi can send is a pixelated splodge.
Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and all the other video-calling apps dynamically adjust the quality of the video you send and receive to maintain the connection. This means that even if you’ve got a slow connection, you’ll still be able to connect, you just won’t look very good.
Zoom’s minimum system requirements give you a good idea of the necessary specs:
- For one-on-one calls: 1.8 Mbps up/down is required to send and receive 1080p HD video.
- For group calls: 2.5 Mbps up/down is required to receive 1080p HD video, and 3.0 Mbps up/down is required to send 1080p HD video.
To check the speed of your internet connection, head over to Speedtest. If you’re getting anything less than 3.0 Mbps, you’re not going to be able to send high-quality video. Even if your connection is 3.5 or 4.0 Mbps, it will likely drop low enough to cause you issues sometimes.
If you have a fast internet connection, that’s wonderful! If not, there are some steps you can take to speed it up for a call. First, ask anyone else who’s using the network to stop (take a break from the Netflix, kids!). Use a device with wired Ethernet.
If these tips still don’t get you a fast enough connection, there are some other tips you can try.
Use Your Best Camera
The webcam on a lot of laptops is, well, mediocre—especially when you compare them to the front-facing cameras on modern smartphones. The 12MP TrueDepth camera on the iPhone 11 is worlds better than the 720p FaceTime camera on a brand-new, 16-inch MacBook Pro. If you use an iPhone as your webcam, you’re guaranteed to get better-looking video than you will on your MacBook.
Of course, it’s easiest to just use your laptop, especially for professional calls. If you have the option, though, it’s worth the few moments it takes to prop up your smartphone at eye-level and plug it in to charge. Not only will you look better on your call, but you’ll also be free to use your computer, if necessary.
If you really want to look incredible, and you have a DSLR camera, you can kick things up even further and use it as a webcam. There’s a bit of setup involved, and not all cameras are capable of it, but the payoff is huge.
Go Forth and Zoom!
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to look a lot better on video calls. Whether you’re using Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet, Skype, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or any of the other countless video-chat apps, you can ensure you always look your best.
Just sort out your lighting situation, prop your best camera at eye-level and make sure you look at it, and you’re good to go!
Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who specializes in writing how-to guides. He has been writing tech tutorials for over a decade now. He’s written for some of the prominent tech sites including MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Online Tech Tips. Read more.
Like many other modern applications, Microsoft Teams offers a dark mode. It works in all versions of Teams, including the Windows, Mac, web, iPhone, iPad, and Android apps. Here’s how to turn on dark mode—and how to get light mode back if you prefer that.
Table of Contents
- Windows, Mac, and Web
- iPhone and iPad
Activate Dark Mode in Microsoft Teams for Windows, Mac, and Web
The steps to enable dark mode in Microsoft Teams on desktop and the web are the same. This is because both the desktop app and the web version have pretty much the same user interface.
To begin, launch Microsoft Teams on your desktop or in your browser. Log in to your account if you haven’t already done so.
Now, click your profile icon in the top-right corner of the window and select “Settings.”
Click “General” in the left sidebar, then click “Dark” on the right.
Microsoft Teams will immediately turn darker without any prompts.
In the future, if you ever need to disable dark mode, click “Default” on the same screen where you chose Dark. This will enable the default light theme.
Turn on Dark Mode in Microsoft Teams for Android
When you enable dark mode in Microsoft Teams on Android, you’ll need to close the app and then reopen it. So, make sure that you save any unsaved work in the app before you go ahead and turn on this mode.
When you’re ready, start by launching the Microsoft Teams app on your device.
Next, tap the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) in the top-left corner and select “Settings.”
Here, under the General section, toggle on the “Dark theme” option.
A prompt will appear asking to restart the app. Tap “Restart.” This will close the app and then reopen it for you.
Dark mode is now activated in the app.
To turn dark mode off and get light mode back, toggle off the “Dark theme” option that you enabled above. You’ll then be back to the original light theme.
Enable Dark Mode in Microsoft Teams for iPhone and iPad
To change this setting in Teams on an iPhone or iPad, first, launch the Microsoft Teams app.
When the app opens, tap your profile icon in the top-left corner.
Select “Settings” to open the settings menu.
Choose “Appearance” from under the “General” section.
Now, tap “Dark” to enable dark mode in the app.
A prompt will appear asking to close the app. Tap “Close app,” and the Microsoft Teams app will be closed. You’ll now need to manually open the app to see it in dark mode.
If dark mode doesn’t work for you for some reason, tap “Light” where you chose Dark in the steps above to go back to the default light theme.
If you love dark mode, you might want to enable Dark Mode in Microsoft Office, too. This gives Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office apps a dark theme, giving you a consistent look across all the Microsoft apps you’re using.
We are in a generation where we can see our loved one with smartphones within seconds. But when our loved ones call, we can’t always use the makeup to look beautiful. So we have a simple hack to look beautiful instantly by using beauty mode in WhatsApp video calls. Here are the steps to enable the beauty mode in WhatsApp video calls on Android smartphones.
How to use Beauty Mode in WhatsApp Video Calls on Android
Face beauty for video calls make you more attractive and beautiful depends on your device’s beautification settings. However, this feature is not supported on all video calling apps in Android. You can use it on a very few apps only. It is sometimes also called W hatsapp Video to call Beauty camera. Follow the steps below:
- To use beauty mode, first, you need to go to settings in your Android phone. You can search settings, or you can go directly to the settings option.
- There you can find an option. More settings >Face beauty for video call.
- Toggle on the option for WhatsApp.
Once done this, you will be able to use the beauty camera on Whatsapp Video call.
Enable the face beauty feature for WhatsApp Video Call
Suppose you are calling someone WhatsApp. As soon as you start calling, even before they attend the call, you can see an option at the right side top corner to beautify your face. You can adjust the mode and how much percentage you want by sliding on it.
During the call, you can adjust the beauty filter effect to 100% or 50% or 20% or anything. You can make the adjustments depending on light and your surroundings. With just a simple setting in your Android phone, you can be video ready to attend any call at any time. As of now, this option is only available for Android users and not for iOS users. Also remember, not all devices support this feature; only some devices with custom ROMs can use this feature.
The beauty camera for Whatsapp Video call should slowly be available for all, that without any third-party app support.
If you’re staring at your computer screen all day, it is highly recommended that you enable Dark Mode for your eyes. Dark Mode is a setting that turns your bright white screen a little darker. This means most of your Windows apps and features will have white text against a black or gray background. This makes it a lot easier to read and is said to help with concentration. Plus, a study by Google found that you’ll use 60% less energy on a device that has Dark Mode enabled. Ready to switch over to the dark side? Here’s how to enable Dark Mode in Windows 10:
How to Enable Dark Mode in Windows 10
You can use the Dark Mode feature in a couple of ways on your laptop or desktop. The feature can be rolled out across the entire user interface, on all apps, on specific apps only, and even on webpages.
- Open the Start menu. You can do this by clicking on the Windows icon on the bottom left corner of your screen.
- Go to Settings. This looks like a gear icon, and it is located just above the power icon in the start menu.
Alternatively, you can get to the Settings window by pressing Windows + “i” on your keyboard at the same time.
Once you select Dark Mode, your Settings app will instantly turn dark (as well as other Windows apps).
But if you want the true Dark Mode experience, you’re also going to want to turn your desktop to be dark as well. Here’s how you can turn your desktop black:
How to Turn Your Desktop Black
- Go to Settings > Personalization > Background.
- Under Background, select Solid color from the drop-down menu.
- Select the black option under “Choose your background color.”
You can also choose a custom color if you don’t like the solid black option they provide.
Now you might notice that your taskbar at the bottom of your screen is still bright. Here’s how you can make your taskbar and accent colors dark as well.
How to Turn Your Accent Color Dark
- Go to Settings > Colors.
- Under “Choose your accent color,” pick a dark grey color. You can also let Windows pick an accent color for you based on your background. If you would like to choose the color yourself, you can pick one from Windows colors.
You can also choose a custom color if you don’t like the options provided. Windows gives a warning for certain colors where text might be hard to read.
You can choose to apply the accent color to the Start menu, the taskbar, and the action center, and/or the title bars and window borders. Here is what will change is you enable those options:
How to Turn File Explorer and Control Panel Dark
Setting the default Windows mode to dark will not automatically turn on the feature for File Explorer or the Control Panel. But you can change this by setting the default app mode to dark.
To change your default app setting to Dark Mode, follow the steps below.
Update Windows to version 1809 or later. You can update Windows by going to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update. Then click Check for Updates on the right side of the window. If you still can’t update, try downloading the Windows Update Assistant.
Note: This option is only available for Windows version 1809 or later. You can check what Windows version you have by going to Settings > System > About. The version number will be indicated under Windows specifications.
The Control Panel will also be dark if you follow these steps.
How to Turn Other Windows Apps Dark
If you have downloaded Windows version 1903, or the May 2019 update, you will also have the option to turn on Dark Mode on any Windows app.
- Update to Windows version 1903.
- Open any Windows app.
- Go to Settings.
- Find and choose Dark Mode. In Windows Maps, you can find this under Personalization. Other apps may differ.
How to Turn Microsoft Edge Dark
If you want to enable Dark Mode on your Edge browser, you’ll have to set it up manually.
- Open Microsoft Edge.
- Click on Settings and more. This is the icon with the three dots on the top right area near the address bar.
- Choose settings.
- Under “Choose a theme,” select Dark.
- You can now start browsing in Dark Mode.
If you use another web browser, check out our article on how to make any web browser dark.
How to Turn Microsoft Office Dark
Dark Mode can be enabled in MS Office programs individually. The example below uses Word, but the steps are the same for Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. For Outlook, you’d have to go first to File > Office Account before you can see the customization options for your account, including turning on Dark Mode.
- Open any Office app.
- Click on File > Account.
- Change the Office Theme to Dark Gray or Black.
Dark Mode is a great way to switch up your screen display. Now that you know how to turn the feature on a Windows device, here’s how to change your Mac to Dark Mode.
Ban those dark circles and shadows with these tips from how to bounce light, where to place lights and even small lighting devices you can buy for very little investment
We’re all living a Zoom life now, and if not, we’re using one of several video options like Houseparty and Skype to connect with co-workers, cousins and even our neighbors right across the road. Some people are also conducting job interviews virtually, or even closing real estate deals. These online chats are helping many of us feel connected, less isolated and calmer during these uncertain days.
They’re also — quite literally — casting many of us in a bad light.
While some of us are blessed with picture perfect lighting designs in our home, or giant picture windows that stream filtered sunlight, others are inside apartments with single light bulb fixtures that could use some help. Here are several options you can pick up and try today, probably with some things in your home right now.
Light you, not your back
Lights in front of you, and behind the camera, can add a glow to your face that’s softer Getty Images
First, put the light behind your camera — not your back. This goes for a window or lamp. Ideally, you want the light to illuminate you so you want it pushed towards your face and body. Facing a window is great, especially if the light it diffuse and soft, or you can use a lamp.
The goal is to get the light towards your face so you’re bright and clear. If you have a fairly hard light, think about bouncing that light against another surface instead of directing it at you. All that requires is aiming the light at a wall next to you, for example, which then forces the light to re-aim, or bounce towards you, making it less strong.
A simple piece of white poster board can help to bounce and soften harsh lighting Getty Images/iStockphoto
Professionals often use white boards to bounce light up to someone’s face and also to fill in shadows. You can do the same thing with a white poster board or a piece of fabric that you pin into a frame or tack on to a board.
Ideally, the white surface should be a bit lower than your face — and lower than the camera (and of course behind the camera so it’s not seen.) This isn’t going to create a huge amount of light on your face, but it can help to re-direct other light back on to you, and create a softer halo effect.
Add some color
C by GE smart light bulb GearBrain
Smart lights can glow millions of different colors. But turn your C by GE or Philips Hue bulbs to purple or blue, and you’re likely giving off more of a Dance Party vibe than you may want. Instead, shift to the white tones and go for those that are mimic natural colors on the warm or cool spectrum.
You can, however, cast a bit of color if you want — perhaps some rose — into the space or experiment with light colors that are best for your skin tone and complexion. You don’t want to be heavy handed here with the settings, but instead focus on adding some glow back into your cheeks.
Small light stand
A ring-shaped light stand can create a halo of light around your face Getty Images/iStockphoto
You can buy small lights designed just for this purpose online, which are sometimes called selfie or ring lights. They often have LED bulbs that glow right under your camera and your face, and can be battery-powered, or charged using a USB end that plugs into a smartphone. Some have multiple settings, and they’re pretty inexpensive, priced typically at under $25.
The closer the light actually is to you, the better chance you have at creating a cloud-like effect. And consider placing the lamp at an angle, rather than right in front. The optimum points for lights around your face are at 10 and 2 pm with you at high noon. You’ll also want a slight light behind you – again from an angle.
Hand or Stand Mirror
A hand mirror can beam more directed light towards your face if placed below you, and behind the camera Getty Images/iStockphoto
A mirror placed in front of your face can also bounce light on you, and it’s something that professional lighting people use as well — only they call them reflective lighting kits. Your kit may just be the small stand mirror from your bathroom, but the idea is the same. You’re basically using the mirror, instead of a wall or a white board, to bounce light from another light source towards you.
You’ll want to practice a bit here so you don’t bounce light that creates a flare. The goal here is a soft, diffused glow and not a flashlight spot that is harsh.
All of these options are fairly affordable, and shouldn’t set you back more than $50, at the most, to get started. Given the uncertainty of how long people will be asked to keep their physical distance from each other, it’s fair to not invest a lot of funds into a set up right now — and luckily that’s not necessary.
As Zoom, Skype and WebEx meetings explode, you need to master these webcam techniques.
Editor at Large
Brian Cooley is CNET’s Editor at large, following the big trends in car tech, smart home , healthcare, the future of food, digital entertainment and more. He’s known for his affable and informed take on technologies that fly or flop. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, he remembers when Apple’s headquarters was mostly apricots.
We’re all on more web conferences and video meetings via Skype, Zoom , Google Meet and WebEx lately, so you may as well make a professional impression and get your point across memorably. Here are the six easiest ways to look (and sound) sharp when you meet online.
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1. Eye level
The camera in your laptop lid, phone or tablet is perfectly placed — to look up your nose. Put something under your laptop or find a way to set your phone or tablet so the camera is at the same height as your eyes.
Use anything you can to get your device camera up to eye level. Anything.
That’s how humans are meant to look at each other. You don’t need a fancy aluminum laptop stand or phone mount: A stack of books or coffee mug on a shelf will often do.
2. Eye line
Once you have your camera at the right height, don’t forget to look at it. The natural temptation is to just look at your screen, below the camera, where the other participants are. But that gives you an odd, distracted look that subtly tells the other party something interests you more than them. Of course you’ll look away to consult what’s on your screen, but try to maintain regular eye contact with the camera, especially when you’re talking.
Look at the camera once in a while, not just at what’s on the display. A few degrees difference in eye line makes a big difference in appearance at this close distance.
3. Sound good
There’s an old maxim in the audiovisual business that good sound makes video look better. Don’t rely on the crummy internal mic in your device — it can’t help but pick up the entire room or car around you and mix it with a big dose of garbling echo. At the very least, use earbuds that have a microphone in the cable or advanced wireless earbuds with multiple noise-canceling microphones. An inexpensive but effective choice is a single earcup wired headset with a boom mic. You always admired Madonna, here’s your change to wear her gear. The goal is to transmit your voice with a closeness and warmth that commands attention on the other end.
Bing is one of the leading search engines (although way behind Google in terms of usage) that still lacks built-in dark mode. In this article, we will go through some key facts about Bing and how to enable dark mode on it.
The History of Bing
As a web search engine owned by Microsoft, Bing’s origins are MSN search and Windows Live Search (later rebranded as Live Search). Developed using ASP.NET, Bing provides a variety of search services, including web, video, image, and map search products. This web search engine is the replacement of Microsoft’s Live Search since 2009. There are few key features included as the listing of search suggestions while queries are entered and a list of related searches (called “Explore pane”) based on semantic technology created from Powerset which is another acquisition of Microsoft. Back in July 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced a deal in which Bing would power Yahoo! Search. As a consequence, all Yahoo! Search global customers and partners made the transition by early 2012. In 2015 the deal was altered, meaning Yahoo! was only required to use Bing for a “majority” of searches. Microsoft released a statement in October 2011, that they were working on new back-end search infrastructure intending to deliver faster and slightly more relevant search results for users. The new index-serving technology known as “Tiger” had been incorporated into Bing since August 2011. In May 2012, Microsoft added a new social “Sidebar” feature to Bing that searches user’s social networks for information relevant to the search query. As of today, Bing is the second-most renowned search engine globally placed just behind Google. In the next lines of this article we will review the most recognizable features of Bing and how you can use them and more importantly how to enable a better version of Bing, a one with dark mode on.
Top 10 Bing features
- Bing Rewards program
Bing search engine filters results in different tabs such as ads, images, maps, videos, news and also provides to its users the option to accumulate points, which can be later redeemed on Microsoft and Windows stores.
- Mesmerizing home screen
By featuring captivating pictures that frequently change as the background on the home screen page, Bing for sure knows how to entertain its users. Additional smaller pictures are also visible at the bottom with the current trending headlines.
- Autocomplete suggestions
Bing’s autocomplete suggestions are considered to be better than the Google ones, as they are showing more results.
- Unique snapshot
This web search engine provides a quick “snapshot” of basic information to its customers that can be clicked on to explore more about their search query, including quick links to points of interest, such as news, images, biographies, quotes, etc.
- “Timeline” feature
This feature offers key events in the lifetime of influential or famous people’s lives and they are shown as per the user’s preference.
Searching for videos on the web can take more time than presumed as sometimes it may be difficult to know if you are about to click on the correct video or a copycat. By allowing you to hover over any video and preview a short clip of it, Bing is making sure to eliminate this uncertainty a user may have.
- ”My Saves” search capability
Bing offers the option to save video, images, and shopping searches you find while using the web search engine, and view them later on your PC or mobile device, as long as you’re signed in.
This feature is a serious competitor to Google maps, with a stylish look and search quality with more relevant and updated information than ever before, including directions and traffic data.
- Bing calculations
Bing search engine is performing computations that allow you to type in a math query and see instant results. The search engine also has a user-friendly implemented calculator feature that you can use to solve your math problem.
You can use Image Match to find an image on the web that you would like to “re-find” on the internet with different size and quality. For example, if you have a small image that you found on the internet a while back and you want to use it as a wallpaper, you could now use Bing’s Image Match feature to find a larger and high-resolution copy of that same image. Pretty useful indeed, don’t you think?
Bing dark mode
So far we introduced you to the critically acclaimed web search engine called Bing and its key advantages. Now we will present you our very own dark mode browser extension with which you can upgrade your “Bing experience” to a higher level. Night Eye is designed for one purpose – to deliver you a fresh, cooler and dark-themed layout on nearly any website you search and visit, by providing at the same time increased eye protection for its users. Enabling this dark mode extension while using Bing will replace not only the standard blindingly bright interface most sites on the web use, but also the layout of this famous web search engine with a dark mode version of it, without affecting browsing speed and performance. As digital users, prolonged time in front of our screens and staring at the bright white backgrounds (if dark mode is not available) can cause us many negative symptoms such as eye strain, headaches, and even blurred vision. This is mainly due to the harmful blue light our PC and laptop screens are emitting. Night Eye will enable negative polarity on your screen and instantly eliminate the blue light, reducing the negative side effects of it and protecting your eyes. And all of this combined with a better visual experience! Night Eye is compatible with all modern browsers so feel free to install it now and test it while using Bing. Surely you won’t regret it!
In a world where screens seem to be ever present, it’s important to take steps to protect your vision, even with something as simple as using your phone’s dark mode setting. But is dark mode better for your eyes?
Dark mode successfully cuts glare and reduces blue light, both of which help your eyes. However, dark mode isn’t for everyone, and in some cases, it can actually cause more vision problems than solutions.
Below, we dig into the details: What is dark mode, what are its advantages and is dark mode actually better for your eyes?
What is dark mode?
Dark mode (or dark theme) is a setting offered on many smartphone models. Dark mode displays an inverted color scheme — light-colored text and icons on a dark background. Most mobile devices are defaulted to light mode, in which dark text is superimposed on a white or light background.
Dark mode is accessed through your phone’s display settings and can be toggled on and off to accommodate user preferences. When applied, dark mode is displayed across the entire user interface, including apps.
Note: If you can’t find this option in your settings, it’s possible this feature has a different name, or that your phone (or its operating system) is outdated and doesn’t offer dark mode.
Believe it or not, dark mode actually existed as the “norm” before light mode. When personal computers were first available, monochrome monitors were the only option.
The monitors used phosphorus which appeared dark on the computer screen. When a key on the keyboard was pressed, electrons would ignite the phosphorus into another color (often green) to create letters and symbols against the dark background.
What are the advantages of dark mode?
There are a lot of advantages to using dark mode, like extended battery life and reduced glare and blue light exposure.
MORE BATTERY, LESS CHARGING: Using dark mode can extend your battery life by up to 30%, which means you won’t need to charge your phone as often. Note: If you find it’s harder to read in dark mode, dimming the brightness on regular mode also will extend your battery life.
Exposure to blue light has been suggested to cause symptoms of digital eye strain, including dry eyes, headaches and blurred vision — even though most studies do not support such notions. However, science has shown that blue light can interfere with sleep cycles, meaning it can be difficult to get sufficient rest if you’re exposed to enough blue light close to bedtime.
REDUCE BLUE LIGHT EXPOSURE: Switching your phone to dark mode can help reduce blue light exposure.
Many phones also have a blue light filter. The filter, which should also be located in display settings, lets you adjust the amount of blue light emitted from your screen. This is a great option for those who can’t see well in dark mode, but want protection from blue light.
AVOID SCREEN GLARE: If you’re viewing your screen in a dark room, the bright light from default display settings can cause an irritating glare — an uncomfortable level of contrast between the screen and your surroundings. Using dark mode will cut the glare from your screen significantly for comfortable viewing.
You also can dim your screen manually in light mode or set your brightness to adjust automatically based on the surrounding lighting. Either option will effectively reduce glare if you prefer not to use dark mode.
Is dark mode better for your eyes?
While dark mode has a lot of benefits, it may not be better for your eyes. Using dark mode is helpful in that it’s easier on the eyes than a stark, bright white screen. However, using a dark screen requires your pupils to dilate which can make it harder to focus on the screen.
Why does eye dilation make it harder to see? When your pupils dilate, your vision becomes less clear. When your pupils constrict under bright light, your vision sharpens. Just like a camera, a smaller aperture provides greater depth of focus. For this reason, it may be more difficult for some people to clearly see screen details in dark mode.
People who have myopia or astigmatism also may experience halation (from the word “halo”). Halation occurs when light spreads past a certain boundary, creating a foggy or blurry appearance.
In other words, white letters can appear to bleed into a black background, making it more difficult to read, especially if the print is fine.
Halation is more common and more severe when using dark mode, so those who already have vision issues may benefit more from a dimmed light mode or blue-light-filtering mode. No matter what mode you use to view your phone, the best way to ensure clear, comfortable viewing is to see your eye doctor for regular eye exams and an up-to-date vision prescription.
Correcting underlying vision problems will bring relief that dark mode can never achieve, both on screen and off. And if you’re going to get new glasses, you can add special lens coatings in the process that will block glare and blue light.
Page published on Monday, March 30, 2020
Page updated on Sunday, June 5, 2022
Medically reviewed on Monday, April 26, 2021
Ever wondered if it’s possible to view Android Messages on PC? Absolutely, thanks to Android Messages for web. Much like WhatsApp for web, Messages for web lets you pair your computer to your phone, so you can send and receive SMS from either device. The pairing process is simple, as is the interface.
To get you started, here’s a quick guide on how to use Android Messages on PC.
Link the Message app to your PC
Download the latest version of Messages and then open the app on your smartphone.
Tap the overflow menu (three dots in the top right-hand corner) and tap “Messages for Web.”
On your computer, open https://messages.google.com/web on your browser of choice. Before moving on to the next step, you can select “Remember this computer” to keep the phone paired with the browser interface when if you close the tab.
On your phone, tap “QR code scanner” and scan the code on the webpage you just opened on your computer.
You’ve now linked Messages on your phone to Messages for Web on your computer. You should now see the Messages interface in your browser window.
Features you can use with Messages on your PC
Your message history will appear in the left-hand window with your expanded conversations on the right.
Tap the overflow menu to access settings, archived messages, enable dark theme, send feedback, get help, or sign out. The dark theme can also be enabled via the settings menu.
The settings area lets you change your notification and message preview settings, pair and unpair your phone and computer, set an alert for when your phone is using data instead of Wi-Fi, and enable accessibility options like keyboard shortcuts and high contrast mode.
How to reply and start new conversations with Messages on PC
To reply to an existing message, simply click the message in the history list window to open that conversation.
To start a new conversation, click the “Start Chat” button at the top of your message history list, then just type the name, number or email address of the contact you wish to send a message to. A list of top contacts will also be available.
Type your message in the text entry field at the bottom of the right-hand window. You can add emoji, stickers, and attachments as you normally would on your phone, and then click the arrow button to send.
Other Android Messages on PC features
If you have a dual-SIM phone, you’ll be able to select which SIM card to send the message from on the left-hand side of the text entry field by clicking the down arrow.
You can mute a conversation by clicking the bell icon at the top right of the expanded view, or open the overflow menu for further options.
There are additional notification and messaging settings on your smartphone.
There you have it — how to use Android Messages for web to text via SMS right from your computer. Any questions? Let us know in the comments.
With Cinematic mode, your iPhone 13 camera can record videos with a shallow depth of field and add beautiful focus transitions for a cinema-grade look.
Before you get started
Make sure that you have the latest version of iOS and an iPhone that supports recording in Cinematic mode:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
How to record video in Cinematic mode
- Open the Camera app, then swipe to Cinematic mode.
- Tap the arrow in landscape mode to show these adjustment options:
- Tap the Depth Control button , then drag the slider to adjust the depth of field.
- Tap the 1x button on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max to switch to Telephoto. Tap the button again to switch back to Wide.
- Tap the exposure button , then drag the slider to make your video brighter or darker.
- Tap the flash button , then choose from Auto, On, or Off.
- Tap the record button to begin recording.
- Tap a subject in the viewfinder to change focus as you record. Double tap to set automatic focus tracking on a subject. You can also touch and hold on the screen to lock the focus at a specific distance from the camera.
- Tap the record button again to stop recording.
Cinematic mode supports Dolby Vision HDR and has a resolution of 1080p at 30fps.
Edit video taken in Cinematic mode
After you take a video in Cinematic mode, you can edit it in the Photos app on your iPhone 13 model, or on another supported device.
In addition to the standard edits that you can make to all videos, you can adjust the depth of field and the focus points of a video taken in Cinematic mode.
How to edit depth of field in a video taken in Cinematic mode
- Open the Photos app, then tap the video that you want to adjust.
- Tap Edit.
- Tap the Depth Control button , then drag the slider to adjust the depth of field. Adjustments that you make to depth of field apply to the entire video.
- Tap Done.
How to edit focus points in a video taken in Cinematic mode
- Open the Photos app, then tap the video that you want to adjust.
- Tap Edit. The video timeline appears below your video. And below the timeline, yellow dots indicate moments in the video where the focus point changes from one subject to another.
- Drag the timeline indicator button to scrub through your video. As you move it, the video’s current focus point is indicated with a yellow square. Other recognized people or objects have a white square around them.
- Tap a white square to change the focus point to that person or object. You can also try tapping other objects in the frame to change the focus point to that object. Double tap a subject to set automatic focus tracking. Touch and hold on the screen to lock the focus at a specific distance from the camera.
- Tap the focus button to switch between the Camera app’s automatic focus tracking and your manually selected focus points.
- Repeat for any other segments of the video where you want to change the focus point, then tap Done.
To delete a focus point transition, touch and hold the yellow dot until the delete button appears, then tap it.
Make edits to Cinematic effects on other devices
You can edit Cinematic mode video effects in the Photos app on any of these devices with iOS 15 or iPadOS 15:
- iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and later
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later)
- iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
- iPad mini (5th generation and later)
macOS will support Cinematic mode editing in an upcoming update.
To make sure that a video taken in Cinematic mode can be edited on another supported device, use iCloud Photos or AirDrop. If you use AirDrop, turn on All Photos Data before you send:
- Open the Photos app, then tap the video that you want to share.
- Tap the Share button , then tap Options at the top of the screen.
- Turn on All Photos Data, then tap Done.
- Tap the AirDrop button, then tap the device that you want to send to.
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‘How to Add Filters to Video’ Tutorial
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If you stare at screens all day long, the bright light can feel a bit grating on the eyes. Switching to dark mode may help combat the issue, and it can even help conserve your battery. For Gmail users, there are several options to get this done. But the method you’ll use will depend on the device you’re using.
For example, if you have an iPhone, you no longer have the option to use dark mode in the Gmail app. But there is a workaround you can use to get the dark mode effect from your device’s system settings. But those on Android or desktop can access the dark mode option via the Themes menu in the app itself.
Here’s how to do it all.
How to enable Gmail dark mode on desktop
1. Open Gmail and log in, if needed.
2. Click the gear-shaped Settings icon, located toward the top-right corner of the screen.
3. Next to Theme, choose View all.
4. Scroll down and select the Dark theme.
5. Hit Save.
Almost everything will then appear in dark mode. But the Compose window for new emails will still display with a white background.
Quick tip: You can turn all of Google Chrome into dark mode by updating your device’s settings or downloading an extension.
How to enable Gmail dark mode on iPhone and iPad
If you have iOS 13 and up, you can no longer switch your Gmail app to dark mode via the Themes menu.
But you can enable dark mode via your device’s settings by going into your Settings app, then choosing Display & brightness and selecting Dark.
How to enable Gmail dark mode on Android
This will only work if you have Android version Q or later:
1. Open the Gmail app and log into your account, if needed.
2. Tap the icon of three horizontal lines at the top-left corner of the screen.
3. In the pop-out menu, scroll down and select Settings.
4. Choose General settings.
5. At the top of the General settings page, tap Theme.
6. Select Dark.
Quick tip: If your device system settings are set to dark mode, then the Gmail app should also automatically turn dark. You can set that up by going into your Settings app and selecting Display followed by Dark.
Consumption of media on PCs, laptops, and smartphones continues to rise, all thanks to the streaming services. The fact that you can start watching your favorite show or a movie just about anywhere is the icing on the cake. However, if your Windows 10 PC emits weak audio, it could ruin the experience.
You don’t need to worry for we have a convenient set of tips to amplify louder and better sound on your Windows 10 PC. While all of them may not work on your PC since every computer has slightly different hardware as well as sound settings. Depending on the sound card or the audio chip on your PC, it’s best to try out all the options before you invest in an external speaker set.
Let’s take a look.
1. Enhancing System Audio
Windows has a handful of sound enhancement features, but sadly they are often overlooked. One of them is Loudness Equalization, which when enabled boosts the maximum volume by about 150%. This feature works across most integrated sound cards, and you can find it under the Sound Settings.
To access the sound settings, right-click on the Volume icon on the taskbar, and select Sounds. Double-click on Speakers option under Playback which will bring up the Speakers Properties.
Now, navigate to the Enhancements tab and check the option for Loudness Equalization.
2. Get an Audio Booster
If your system doesn’t have the support for Loudness Equalization, the best option is to invest in a third-party audio booster like the Boom 3D. This volume booster and equalizer app not only increases the overall system volume but also bundles a handful of sound related features.
Boom 3D’s one of the key features is the 3D Surround which brings a positional surround sound experience to headphones. Its advantage is that it’s not hardware dependent and works across multiple headphones.
Other than that, it comes with four sound effects — Ambience, Fidelity, Night Mode, and Spatial. Plus, if you want to fine-tune your audio experience, you can tweak the EQ settings and the presets.
3. Get Dolby Atmos for Spatial Sound
Another cool way to boost audio is to enable the ‘Dolby Atmos for headphones’ feature. The Windows 10 Creators Update brought this feature to many PCs, and it lets you get a spatial sound experience on your headphones.
Unlike the traditional Dolby Atmos, this feature doesn’t need any special hardware or receiver. Instead, it’s a digital signal processor that works by mixing the sound of your PC for an enhanced audio experience. Dolby Atmos for headphones is available for many games including Assassin’s Creed, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Gears of War 4.
To enable this feature, go to Sounds and double-click on an audio device. Once in, select the tab for Spatial Sound and select Dolby Atmos for Headphones from the drop-down list.
If you are accessing it for the first time, it’ll open Microsoft Store link to activate a free trial. Do note that it’s a paid feature.
4. Tinker with Equalizer Settings
The audiophile in you might know that perfect sound is actually a myth. Music is all about personal preference. So if you find the bass a tad overpowering, you can always adjust the intensity in the system equalizer.
Thankfully, Windows 10 PCs come with a native sound equalizer which lets you tweak the bands and create your custom profile. Though it’s a tad basic, you can always tweak to get a better sound output than the default factory settings.
To access the equalizer, go to the Sound Settings and select Device Properties. Next, click on Enhancements and uncheck the Equalizer checkbox from the list.
Now, choose a profile according to your liking and hit the three-dot button next to it. Adjust the bands as per your taste. And yeah, it’s a slow and time-consuming process, but it’s worth the time. Do keep in mind that the bass frequencies are always on the left while treble is on the right. The midrange frequencies are well, in the middle.
5. Update Sound Card Drivers
If you have any issues with sound, you can also update the sound card drivers. Generally, all the major companies notify users whenever there’s an update available. If that’s the case, you can go to the specific website directly to download the said driver.
Alternatively, you can go to Device Manager (Windows key + X) and double-click on ‘Audio inputs and outputs’ to expand it. Right-click on it and select Update driver.
6. Set Multiple Sound Output for Different Media
Gone are the days when there used to be a single audio output device or an individual music player. Now, not only do we have multiple speakers and headphone hooked to our Windows 10 PCs, but there are also a variety of tools related to audio. Naturally, all these apps and devices need to have their sound output. After all, you wouldn’t want the same volume levels across VLC, Chrome, and your headphones.
To set individual volumes, right-click on the volume icon and select Open Volume Mixer. All the open apps will be displayed on the right side, while the devices are on the left.
All you have to do is adjust the volume as per your liking, and you’re good to go.
Alternatively, you can go to Sound Settings > Other Sound options > App volume and device preferences and set the different input and output volumes for apps and devices.
These are some of the tweaks using which you can squeeze out better and louder sound on your Windows 10 PC. Depending on the hardware and make of the device, some of these settings may not be present. If that is the case, investing in an audio booster like Boom 3D sounds practical and feasible, since it enhances the system-wide sound without delving deep into the sound settings.