Skip to main content

Filed under:

Dark mode has taken over: the latest on this battery-saving feature

There’s a lot of hype surrounding dark mode, a simple toggle that lets you change the background color of an app window to black. Some enjoy it simply for aesthetic reasons and because it allows for a slightly customized look compared to the default design. Others find it easier on the eyes, especially at night or in a dark room.

The feature yields battery-saving benefits, too, if your device has an OLED screen. In fact, Google claims that black requires far less power to display on-screen than white, so don’t be surprised if you see a system-level dark mode incorporated in Android Q, even if it’s not yet in the beta.

Dark mode can be found in a bunch of popular apps, from workplace collaboration chat app Slack and Microsoft’s Outlook email client to Google Chrome and YouTube. You can also find it within game console operating systems like the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One S / X and increasingly on anything that has a color display.

If users request a dark mode feature in an app (they do, frequently), chances are good that it will appear at some point. We’re tracking all of the latest dark mode developments below.

  • Barbara Krasnoff

    Sep 30, 2021

    Barbara Krasnoff

    How to enable Android’s dark mode for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

    Image: Google

    I’ve become a firm believer in using dark mode on my phone. Not because of its presumed battery-saving advantages (although those are nothing to sneeze at), but because I have the unfortunate habit of reading in low-light (or nearly no-light) conditions, and dark mode is a lot gentler on my eyes.

    Read Article >
  • Jay Peters

    Feb 10, 2021

    Jay Peters

    Google is testing a dark mode for desktop search

    Google is testing a dark mode for desktop search, Google confirmed to The Verge. If the test has rolled out to you and your system is set to dark mode, the background of Google’s search pages will be a very dark gray.

    Here’s an example of what the dark mode looks like:

    Read Article >
  • Tom Warren

    Feb 9, 2021

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft Word’s dark mode is getting even darker

    Microsoft is improving the dark mode in Word to make it even darker. The software maker has started testing an update to Word that will color entire documents in a dark canvas. Currently, Word has a dark mode that modifies the ribbon and toolbars, but the canvas stays bright white. A future update to Word will include the ability to switch the canvas into dark mode, too.

    “This has been a long-requested feature from many of Office Insiders and we’re excited to make it happen,” explains Ali Forelli, a program manager on Microsoft’s Word team. “With Dark mode, you’ll notice that the previously white page color is now a dark grey/black.” While the canvas will change, colors in a document will also be adjusted. Reds, blues, yellows, and other bright colors will be “shifted slightly to mute the overall effect of the color palette” and match the dark background.

    Read Article >
  • Mitchell Clark

    Feb 4, 2021

    Mitchell Clark

    If Twitter’s dark mode has recently changed for you, you’re not alone

    Not the familiar dark blue.
    Not the familiar dark blue.

    The feeling of opening Twitter and noticing that something’s off probably isn’t a new one, but it usually isn’t related to the site’s color scheme. Yet some users (and Verge staff) are now seeing that Twitter’s desktop dark mode has gotten darker, or worse, been changed to light mode.

    Twitter tells The Verge that the change from blue to black was intentional — it’s part of an update to make the Twitter website respond to the light and dark modes on your OS. Of course, if you miss the dark blue, you can bring it back by going to Twitter’s display settings and choosing Dim mode (instead of the inky black Lights Out or the bright Default), and the site should remember that preference.

    Read Article >
  • Mitchell Clark

    Jan 20, 2021

    Mitchell Clark

    WhiteHouse.gov now has dark mode

    Screenshot of the White House website, showing the dark, high contrast mode activated.

    The official website of the White House, WhiteHouse.gov, has been completely replaced with a new version for the Biden administration, and it comes with some unexpected accessibility features: a high contrast mode, which serves as a dark mode, and a toggle to make the font size larger.

    Both options show up along the left rail as big, easy-to-click or tap buttons, and that’s the way you’ll need to toggle them. Even if your device has a system-wide dark mode, the White House website won’t switch over automatically. That’s because it’s really there to serve as an accessibility feature, meant to help anyone who would have trouble reading or looking at a bright white screen with black text.

    Read Article >
  • Tom Warren

    Jan 20, 2021

    Tom Warren

    Google’s new Chrome 88 update improves dark mode, removes FTP and Adobe Flash

    The Google Chrome logo in the center of a web-like graphic.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Google is releasing a new version of Chrome this week that will improve its dark mode support, alongside removing FTP and Adobe Flash support. The dark mode improvements can be found on both Windows and Chrome OS. There are refinements to both the light and dark modes in Chrome OS, with the themes updated for the app launcher, quick settings, and shelf parts of Chrome OS.

    How To Geek also reports that the Windows 10 dark mode is improved with Chrome 88, with scroll bars finally appearing dark. Unfortunately, these are currently limited to the settings, bookmarks, history, and new tab pages of Chrome 88 and not across all websites with dark themes.

    Read Article >
  • Kim Lyons

    Oct 25, 2020

    Kim Lyons

    Chrome OS may finally be getting a dark mode

    The Google Chrome logo in the center of a web-like graphic.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Chrome OS may finally be getting a dark mode, but so far it’s only been spotted in its experimental Canary channel, Android Central reported.

    Before you go tinkering with Canary just be advised: Canary is Google’s “bleeding edge” Chrome OS path, which receives daily updates of features before they’ve been widely tested. It can only be accessed from Chromebooks switched into a special developer mode (not to be confused with the Chrome OS Developer channel). Google warns that Canary can be “unstable.”

    Read Article >
  • Dan Seifert

    Oct 19, 2020

    Dan Seifert

    Google Assistant smart displays are getting dark mode and multiple account support

    The new Google Assistant smart display interface
    The new Google Assistant smart display interface
    GIF: Google

    Google is updating the look and functionality of the software on its Assistant smart displays in a significant way. Starting this week, smart displays such as the Nest Hub and those made by third-party companies will be updated with a new home screen experience: dark mode, and finally, the ability to see calendar events from more than one Google account.

    The biggest change is the new home screen, which is designed to provide contextual information to you depending on your habits and the time of day. Instead of the endlessly scrolling horizontal list of before, Google now divides the information into five distinct sections — time of day, Home Control, Media, Communicate, and Discover — accessible from tabs at the top of the screen.

    Read Article >
  • James Vincent

    Jul 17, 2020

    James Vincent

    Microsoft updates its Android Launcher with dark mode, custom icons, and daily wallpapers

    Version 6 of Launcher includes a dark mode and other visual updates.
    Version 6 of Launcher includes a dark mode and other visual updates.
    Image: Microsoft

    Microsoft has updated its Launcher app for Android to version 6, giving the software a big visual overhaul and a performance upgrade on top of its existing functionality.

    Version 6 of Launcher has a new app icon, dark mode, daily wallpaper feature (provided by Bing), customizable icons, and it now works in landscape orientation, too. There’s also a personalized news feed that updates throughout the day, and general performance improvements, including faster loading and reduced battery drain, thanks to a new codebase.

    Read Article >
  • Jul 6, 2020

    Taylor Lyles

    Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides now have a dark theme on Android

    Image: Google

    Google is rolling out a dark mode for its Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps on Android starting today

    The tech giant says all Android users will gain access to the dark theme within the next two weeks. Users can activate the dark theme on Docs, Sheets, or Slides by going to the respective app’s settings. Google also says that the apps will automatically use your system theme, meaning if your device already has dark theme enabled, you will not have to enable it manually in these apps.

    Read Article >
  • Tom Warren

    Jul 1, 2020

    Tom Warren

    OneDrive is getting a new dark mode and 100GB file upload limit for businesses

    Microsoft is improving its OneDrive upload limit and sharing integration with Microsoft Teams for businesses and finally bringing a dark mode to the web version. The software giant is increasing the upload file size limit from 15GB to 100GB for all OneDrive and SharePoint users today. It’s a useful addition for business users of OneDrive who have been restricted to 15GB files, making it difficult to sync some large file types like CAD or video files.

    OneDrive for Business users will also soon be getting better Teams sharing integration. You’ll be able to share a file within Teams and be presented with an option to create a shared link that allows files and documents to be shared strictly within a company or to anyone. Microsoft will also soon support address bar file sharing, so you can copy a link from OneDrive in a browser and simply share it.

    Read Article >
  • Kim Lyons

    Jun 28, 2020

    Kim Lyons

    Facebook is introducing a dark mode for mobile

    Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge

    After launching a dark mode for its desktop interface, Facebook confirms it is testing a dark mode for its mobile apps as well. As first noted by SocialMedia Today, Facebook has made the dark mode available to a very small percentage of people globally, a spokesperson told The Verge in an email Sunday. The mobile version of the dark mode Facebook introduced last month for desktop is “meant to cut down on glare,” particularly in low-light environments, the spokesperson said. There’s no timeline yet for when the dark mode will be available to all mobile users, however.

    Users who already have the new dark mode on mobile tweeted screenshots of what it looks like:

    Read Article >
  • Nick Statt

    May 8, 2020

    Nick Statt

    Facebook’s redesigned desktop site with dark mode is now available everywhere

    Image: Facebook

    Facebook’s redesigned desktop site is now available globally, the company announced on Friday. Prior to this change, the new version of Facebook was available only if you opted into it starting in March and only in some markets, although the company said at the time that a majority of people would get access that month.

    In a blog post published today, Facebook says the new site will “now be the web experience for Facebook globally,” adding that “it’s faster, easier to use and gives your eyes a break with dark mode.”

    Read Article >
  • Jay Peters

    Apr 28, 2020

    Jay Peters

    Apple Support app updated with dark mode and a new UI

    Illustration of a glowing apple on a blue, dotted background
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    The Apple Support app has been updated to version 4.0 and now has dark mode, an updated user interface, and offers support for Apple services and subscriptions (via 9to5Mac).

    In a few minutes of playing around with it, the updated app has been pretty easy to navigate, and the dark mode looks good, in my opinion. Here are some screenshots of what the new interface looks like, with dark mode turned on:

    Read Article >
  • Jay Peters

    Mar 30, 2020

    Jay Peters

    Stack Overflow is getting a dark mode, its most upvoted feature request ever

    Image: Stack Overflow

    Stack Overflow, the popular question and answer site for developers and software engineers, announced a new dark mode today. The company says the mode has been the site’s most upvoted feature request ever.

    It looks like, well, a dark mode. Here’s a screenshot, provided by Stack Overflow:

    Read Article >
  • Tom Warren

    Mar 3, 2020

    Tom Warren

    WhatsApp dark mode now available for iOS and Android

    WhatsApp is finally getting a new dark mode on iOS and Android today. After months of beta testing on both mobile operating systems, the WhatsApp dark mode will be available for all users today. If you already have dark mode enabled at the system level on iOS 13 or Android 10, then WhatsApp will automatically switch over. Android 9 users can simply enable a new dark theme in the WhatsApp settings menu.

    Facebook has tweaked its WhatsApp dark mode to ensure it lowers the brightness of a phone display. “During testing we found that combining pure black and white creates high contrast that can lead to eye fatigue,” explains a WhatsApp spokesperson. “So instead, you’ll notice a special dark gray background and off-white color that lowers the brightness of the screen, cuts down the glare, and improves contrast and readability.”

    Read Article >
  • Tom Warren

    Nov 4, 2019

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft brings OneNote 2016 desktop app back to life with new dark mode

    Microsoft has changed its mind on killing off the OneNote 2016 desktop app. The software maker released Office 2019 without any updates to the desktop version of OneNote, instead relying on the separate Universal Windows App for Windows 10. “We are continuing mainstream support for OneNote 2016 beyond October 2020, so that you can continue using the version of OneNote that works best for you,” explains a blog post from the OneNote team.

    This means OneNote 2016 will be supported until October 14th 2025 (in extended support). Microsoft is even changing the way OneNote is installed as a result. Starting in March, Office 365 installs that include desktop apps will install the desktop OneNote 2016 version. You can also manually download OneNote 2016 from Microsoft’s site.

    Read Article >
  • Nick Statt

    Oct 8, 2019

    Nick Statt

    Instagram gets the iOS 13 dark mode treatment and it’s wonderful

    Screenshots by Nick Statt / The Verge

    Instagram has updated its iPhone app to take advantage of native dark mode support in iOS 13, and it makes scrolling through your feed and tapping through Stories much easier on the eyes if you’re not a fan of Instagram’s popping color palette and bright white borders.

    Unfortunately, for as nice as it looks, Instagram doesn’t let you toggle the dark mode option on or off within the app itself, as Twitter’s pre-iOS 13 addition of the feature does. That means it has to match your iPhone’s system-wide settings, which is pretty standard right now as most iOS app makers are adding dark mode support for the first time.

    Read Article >
  • Jon Porter

    Sep 25, 2019

    Jon Porter

    Apple Music for Android adds dark mode and Chromecast support

    Image: Apple

    With its latest update, Apple Music’s Android app is now able to stream to Chromecast devices. 9to5Google notes that Chromecast support has been available in the beta version of the app since late August, but it’s now available to all users.

    Along with Chromecast support, the app now features a dark mode, which supports Android 10’s system-wide setting, and it also can access radio stations via TuneIn, Radio.com, and iHeartRadio. Android Police reports that the service can access as many as 100,000 radio stations through these services. (For whatever reason, the patch notes I’m seeing on the UK’s Google Play Store don’t include this number.)

    Read Article >
  • Cameron Faulkner

    Sep 24, 2019

    Cameron Faulkner

    Gmail’s dark mode begins rolling out today

    Google has started to roll out dark mode for Gmail starting today on both Android and iOS devices. If you already use Android 10 or iOS 13 and have dark mode switched on at the system level, Google says that Gmail will automatically adjust to dark mode. Additionally, dark mode will activate if you use a Pixel phone set to battery saver mode. If you’re using an earlier Android or iOS version, you’ll have to toggle a few settings.

    To check if dark mode has been made available to you, open Gmail, click settings, and you’ll see a new option called “Theme,” and within that, dark mode can be switched on.

    Read Article >
  • Jon Porter

    Jun 3, 2019

    Jon Porter

    Dark mode is coming to iOS 13

    Apple is bringing dark mode to iOS 13, the new version of its mobile operating system for this year. The company made the announcement at WWDC 2019, a year after bringing the feature to macOS Mojave. Onstage, the company showed many of its popular apps working in dark mode, including Maps, Notes, Calendar, Music, and Messages. The company has also confirmed that dark mode is coming to the iPad with iPadOS.

    The company says the mode will be available across all its native apps, and can also be used by third-party app developers. Users can set iOS 13’s dark mode to turn on automatically at either a set time or at sunset.

    Read Article >
  • Jon Porter

    May 21, 2019

    Jon Porter

    Dark modes are here for Google Calendar and Google Keep

    Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

    Google Calendar and Google Keep have become the latest Google apps to receive a dark mode on Android, allowing you to save battery life or maybe just enjoy a darker aesthetic at the press of a button. Google Calendar will support the mode on devices running Android Nougat and above, while Keep’s will also be available on Lollipop. Google Keep’s dark mode can be enabled in its settings menu, while for Google Calendar you’ll need to head into the Theme sub-menu in Settings. Sorry Apple users, there’s no news yet of the feature coming to either app on iOS.

    The updates have come just in time for Android Q’s system-wide dark mode feature, called Dark Theme. When Google announced the new mode, it said that all its first party apps would be updated to support it, and that’s exactly what’s happening with Calendar and Keep. Both apps will automatically go into dark mode when you set Android Q to use its Dark Theme, and Calendar can also enter the mode automatically when your device enters battery-saving mode.

    Read Article >
  • Cameron Faulkner

    May 8, 2019

    Cameron Faulkner

    How to enable dark mode on your phone, laptop, and more

    Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    Dark mode is a feature that lets you switch the color theme of an app or an entire desktop operating system to black or something close to it. Beyond the thrill of invigorating a tired design, some like to have the option because it makes looking at your devices a little easier on the eyes. If you use a smartphone that has an OLED display, it might save some battery life, too.

    These days, you can find official support for dark mode in a lot of places; it’s now available in iOS 13, and Google offers it in Android 10. You can find it in places like macOS Catalina and on the Nintendo Switch. Dark mode is also available in several popular apps, including Instagram, Slack, Twitter, and Google Chrome, and Google’s now committed to bringing it to every major first-party Android app it produces. But it isn’t everywhere just yet.

    Read Article >
  • Chaim Gartenberg

    May 7, 2019

    Chaim Gartenberg

    Android Q’s dark mode is darker than the Battle of Winterfell

    Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

    It’s been requested by users for ages, and Google has finally listened: Android Q will offer a true dark mode (officially called Dark Theme), the company announced onstage at Google I/O 2019.

    Dark Theme works pretty much as you’d expect: hit a toggle on your device from the Quick Settings menu, and everything will change from white to black — and actual black, not the dark gray that we’ve seen from apps like Twitter. In theory, this should help with battery life, particularly on OLED phones. To that end, Dark Theme will also automatically activate when an Android Q phone is put into battery-saving mode. If nothing else, it looks cool.

    Read Article >
  • Tom Warren

    Apr 24, 2019

    Tom Warren

    How to enable Google Chrome’s new dark mode on Windows 10

    Stock imagery of the Chrome logo.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Chrome 74 is officially rolling out today for Windows, Mac, and Linux, marking the introduction of a new dark mode for Windows 10 users. The same dark mode arrived last month on macOS with Chrome 73, and today’s update includes automatic Windows 10 support. Chrome will automatically theme itself to match if a dark mode is enabled on Windows 10. The end result makes Chrome look almost identical to the browser’s darker Incognito Mode menu bars.

    While Google is enabling this new dark mode on Windows, the company hasn’t fully switched it on for all Chrome users just yet. “I can confirm that we are rolling out this feature to a small number of Chrome M74 users now, and that it will become more widely available in the near future,” explains a Chrome community manager. If you don’t want to wait for Google to fully enable this, there’s a shortcut trick to force dark mode:

    Read Article >