How to Install and Use Redshift on Ubuntu 20.04

Redshift is a tool that is used to adjust the color temperature of your screen according to your surroundings. The color temperature adapts to the time of the day. A different color temperature is set for the night and daytime. It applies a red hue or redness effect to your screen or graphical display. This helps reduce eye strain and lessen the risk of delayed sleep in case you are working in front of the screen at night. This guide touches base on how to install and use Redshift on Ubuntu 20.04.

How does RedShift work?

In the early morning, redshift allows your eyes to gradually adapt over a period of about an hour, as the temperature transitions smoothly from night time until the day. The color temperature during the day should match the light from outside, typically around 5500K-6500K. The default daytime temperature is 6500K.

At night the color temperature is set to match the lamps in the room. This temperature is around 3000K-4000K. The default night temperature is 4500K.

Step 1: Install Redshift on Ubuntu

The most straightforward of installing redshift on Ubuntu 20.04 is using the apt package manager. To install Redshift, invoke the following commands.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install redshift redshift-gtk

Apart from the command-line tool for redshift, we have installed the package redshift-gtk. The GUI redshift-gtk provides an interface that shows up as a notification icon in the desktop environment.

Step 2: Launching Redshift

You can launch Redshift in two ways. First, you can use the graphical way by searching Redshift using the application manager as follows:

Install and use RedShift

When you click on the Redshift option, a Redshift icon appears on the top notification bar appears as shown:


Redshift will automatically turn on the location function on your system. Based on the coordinates of your current location, Redshift will adjust the color of your graphical display accordingly to prevent straining your eyes.

With the GUI tool, you can enable or disable, autostart, suspend, and get information about our configuration from the icon as shown below.

Step 3: Configuring Redshift

By default, Redshift creates a configuration at the home directory in the ~/.config/redshift/redshift.conf file. However, this is not always the case and sometimes you will be required to create your own configuration file at ~/.config/redshift.conf.

Here is a Redshift sample configuration file that you can use to try out.


Redshift-sample-configuration-fileSpecify the values of dawn-time, dusk-time, screen brightness for day and night, and so on. You can also adjust your latitude and longitude to the exact location in the configuration file. Save the changes and restart redshift for the changes to take effect.

On command-line you can use the syntax below:


For example in my location:

redshift -l -1.218969 36.916428

To adjust the color temperature :

$ redshift -t DAY:NIGHT

For example:

$ redshift -t 6500:3000

We can edit out more options by using the configuration file instead of relying on the graphical user interface. And that's how you can install and adjust color temperatures using the redshift package in Ubuntu distribution.


In this article we learned how to install and use redshift on Ubuntu 20.04. Thanks for reading and please leave to suggestions.

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