Skip to main content

Google shuts down the dream of a dark mode for Android

Google shuts down the dream of a dark mode for Android


Google says it was a “miscommunication” from an employee who posted to a forum thread on the subject

Share this story

Google Pixel next to Google Pixel 2
Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

Keen Android users who’ve been following a somewhat obscure Google Issue Tracker thread from November of last year celebrated an exciting new development today. The thread, in which a user asked about a dark mode to improve battery life on Android phones with OLED screens, had been marked “fixed,” with a Google employee saying the Android engineering team had added this feature and that it would “be available in a future Android release.”

Unfortunately, Google now says that was a mistake. “Unfortunately, this bug was closed prematurely due to a miscommunication with the team that handles AOSP issues,” the company said in a statement given to Android Police. “What we have added in a future Android release is a developer-facing setting (via Developer Options) to toggle the -night UI mode qualifier, which will make it easier for developers to create and test apps that implement night mode.” Google added that “if it’s any consolation, we will also not be adding Hot Dog Mode (where all UI elements are yellow and red),” which is clearly not any consolation at all.

Users had responded to the initial thread enthusiastically, with many praising Google for finally implementing a system-level night mode feature. The only option now is the low-key dark mode that, up until last October, was exclusive to the Pixel 2. That feature allows users to change from a light to dark theme based on their phone’s wallpaper, and it came to the original Pixel with Android 8.1, as noted by AndroidPolice. Hopefully Google decides to expand that, or possibly take into consideration the number of users who are eager for a better UI solution for bright screens and battery life conservation.

Update at 8:03PM ET, 2/23: Added statement from Google clarifying that a dark mode for Android is not in fact on its way, and that the company miscommunicated it on the initial Google Issue Tracker thread.