Achy eyes after too much screen time is a quintessentially 21st-century problem. Now the smartphone has been with us for over a decade, handset and app manufacturers have finally given us dark mode, which switches your white screen space for shades of grey and black. PCmag has an article from Jason Cohen, sharing how to set up dark modes in some of your favourite apps.
It’s quite eye-opening to see the stats on how long we spend looking at screens. In 2018, the average American adult had 3 hours and 35 minutes of screen time, and this year eMarketer predicts mobile time will surpass TV time for the first time.
Having so much light hitting your eyes isn’t great. Light at the blue end of the spectrum messes with your sleep patterns because your brain still thinks it’s in daylight. A utopia without mobile devices isn’t going to happen any time soon, so the next best option is to set up dark modes on your apps, turning your whites to greys and blacks instead.
The dark mode isn’t yet a standard option in all apps, there are some that have night themes that will only work when certain parameters are hit. Navigating at night with Google Maps will kick in the night theme but you can’t set it to work over the whole app. Firefox, Gmail, and Windows 10 Mail apps do have custom web themes available, but they’re hit and miss when it comes to their mobile apps.
There are OS level dark modes available; iOS 13 on your iPhone and the latest Android 10 update both will make your whole phone go dark. It’s only going to work over apps that support the change though, such as built-in Apple apps and most apps developed by Google, and third-party apps that already have dark mode such as Instagram.
We’ve put together a list of apps that have their own dark mode and a quick guide for how to get it turned on and give your eyes a break.
For AccuWeather’s dark mode, go to the three dot menu and go for Settings > Theme. You can toggle between dark, light, and automatic, meaning it will detect the time of day and change the screen colors accordingly.
Amazon Kindle App
Navigate to More > Settings > Color Theme to change your setting in the Amazon Kindle app. When you select “dark” it will change the main app, but it won’t change how your actual ebooks look. To change the reader mode, tap the Aa icon on each ebook then you select Color > Black from the drop-down options.
Castbox’s dark mode is under Personal > Settings, and then you choose the Dark theme, allowing you to change your favorite podcasts dark on your screen.
If you use the Edge browser from Microsoft, there are different options depending on if you’re an iOS or Android user. For iOS, go to the three-dot menu, tap Settings and under the Theme menu you select Dark, as pictured. Alternatively, on Android, go to the three dots in the bottom right, then go for Settings > Appearance > Theme > Dark.
The Evernote app is really simple to make the switch to dark mode. Go to the three button menu in the top left and you’ll see the option to toggle Dark Theme, when using Android. For iOS devices, go to My Account at the bottom-right corner and there you’ll get the option to toggle Dark Theme too.
First launched as an Android Easter egg, Facebook Messenger’s dark mode got rolled out as a permanent feature for both iOS and Android recently. Whichever system you use, tap on the chat head in the top left of your screen and you’ll see a switch for Dark Mode that you can toggle on and off.
Files by Google
The hamburger, or three dot, menu is where to find the dark mode in Google's file management app. Go to settings once you open the menu and you can switch dark mode on and off in there.
Firefox (iOS Only)
Firefox users on iPhones and iPads have a nice, simple process to follow to get dark mode working. Go to the three dots by the address bar and activate Enable Night Mode. This will then turn your menus and web pages a dark grey hue. Android Firefox users don’t get a full dark mode as yet, but you can still get the look through add-ons. Go to the menu button at the top right and either select Add-Ons or Tools > Add-Ons, and search for a dark mode extension.
Gboard, the keyboard app from Google lets you change the theme of the keys that you type with. There are a few themes that are dark for you to choose from, you get to them by going to the gear icon you find on your keyboard. Choose Theme and there are different color schemes to choose from. There are quite a few darker ones but only two that offer complete blackout.
Gmail (Android 10)
There’s a long history of Gmail supporting web-based themes, with options to change menus or your inbox whilst the actual email display remained white. On Android 10 you can go dark with the system-wide dark mode, or control it yourself. Go to the hamburger menu in the Gmail app and go for Settings > General Settings > Themes > Dark and you’ll change just the Gmail app rather than the whole phone to darker shades.
When you need to do some late night number crunching you can put your calculator on to dark. Find the three dot menu in the Google Calculator app and go to Choose theme; here you can select light or dark modes or choose it as a battery saving option.
When you need your life planned out in dark mode, go to the hamburger menu in the top left, then tap Settings > General > Theme and you can opt for always dark, always light, or switching to dark mode when you need to preserve battery life.
If you select the hamburger menu, go to Settings, then Choose theme, you will be able to get dark, light, or battery saving mode inside your Google Contacts app.
Google Drive is another app that offers you dark mode based on the battery status of your phone. To find this or permanent dark mode, go to the hamburger menu and select Settings. From here, go to Choose theme and opt for light, dark or battery saving mode.
Dark mode has also arrived at Google's note-taking app, where you simply hit the hamburger menu and go to Settings. From here, you just need to switch over the Enable Dark Mode button and you’ll be darkened down and ready to go.
To get your Google News set to dark mode you need to select your user profile then go to the Settings option. The Dark Theme will be in this menu and you can choose at which point the new theme will set in. It’s going to change the interface of Google News, but just be aware that the articles you read will still be in their default color scheme.
For the Grammarly Keyboard app, you just need to go to Keyboard Look and Feel and select the dark theme to turn your grammar checking keyboard black.
Your Marvel Unlimited app also comes with a dark mode, which you can access through the three dot menu option. In here, select Settings and you get three color schemes to choose from; white, black, or Iron Man red. Once chosen, the color will change and be consistent through your whole Marvel experience.
If you blog through Medium and want it on dark mode, go to the hamburger menu and head to Settings. From here you go to Night mode and can either set it to permanent dark or set it to change based on the time of day.
One of the quickest dark mode changes, in Messages just go to the three dot menu and choose Enable Dark Mode in the drop-down menu.
The three different Opera apps each have their own dark mode process to follow. For the standard Opera app, you need to go to the O icon that’s in the bottom right and then do Settings > Appearance > Theme > Dark. Users of Opera Mini have a few different color options to choose from. To see which one you want, go to the O icon, and then Settings > Theme where you’re presented with the color palette of options, with black included. Opera Touch users get an easy ride with their dark mode change over. Head to the three dot menu in the top right of the browser window then go to Settings. There’s a simple button that lets you toggle Dark theme on and off.
Otter, the widely used recording app, has the standard light and dark mode options to choose from. Tap on your user profile and then Settings > Advanced Settings > Dark Mode and hit the switch to turn it on.
Dark mode has finally landed on Microsoft’s Outlook app. Android users need to go to the hamburger menu and go to Settings, then go to Theme and there are options to go light or dark or change it depending on your battery situation. If you’re on iOS, go to the top-left menu, choose the gear icon at the bottom left and then turn on the Dark Mode option.
Dark mode comes to your live video watching app, Periscope. Tap on the people icon that you’ll find at the top end of the screen and then pick your profile icon that you’ll see in the right-hand corner. From there, scroll down and find Settings where you can toggle Night Mode on or off.
For anyone using Android 9.0 or higher, Pinterest automatically uses whatever your Battery Saver theme is set at. If you want to have permanent dark mode in this app, head to your user profile and find Settings, which is in the top-right corner. Next, go for Edit Settings > Set by battery saver > Dark. For those using iOS, you need to turn on the system-wide dark mode to have Pinterest in perpetual darkness.
Saving articles throughout the day with Pocket, invariably means you’ll be returning to them at night, so a dark mode is a really handy addition to the app. To get it switched on for Android handsets, navigate to your profile, then tap the three dots on the top-right and go to Settings. Here, you’ll get an option to Change Theme and there’ll be a pop-up menu where you can pick Dark. For iOS, head to your profile, go to the gears at the top-right and go to Theme, at which point you’ll get a pop-up menu offering you a Dark option.
With plenty of customization options already in Pulse SMS, it’s good to see a few dark theme options. Navigate to the three dot menu and select Customization settings. Choose Theme and there are lots of colors to take your pick of, including light, dark, black and day/night. There are hex color codes that can also personalize other app details.
Reddit has two options for turning on the dark mode in their app. There’s the easy way, which is to go to your user profile, which is in the top left corner, and select the moon icon in the pull out menu at the bottom. When you do this the theme changes to black. If you’d rather choose a specific color theme, Reddit has you covered. Go to Settings > Themes and there will be options to choose from such as Alien Blue, Mint, Night, Pony, and Trees, with Night being the dark mode we’re looking for. You can tinker with other theme settings to get the best out of your dark mode experience. There’s Auto Night Mode that monitors the time of day and changes the theme accordingly, and an AMOLED Night Mode that gets rid of all the accent colors. You can even switch to dark mode on Reddit’s web version by heading to your username and switching on Night Mode.
As default, Shazam will work off your Battery Saver theme for changing to dark mode with Android. To make it a forever fix, go to the Library and find the gear icon which is in the top left corner, select Themes > Dark Theme and you’re done.
Signal Private Messenger
With this secure messaging app, you can also look cool too. To make Signal go truly dark, go to your profile in the top left, select Appearance and then change the Theme from light to dark and you’re good to go.
No matter what time of day you need to be collaborating, Slack has you covered with their new dark mode. Go into your options menu that you’ll find in the top-right when you’re in a chat, then tap Settings, and scroll to find Dark Mode. From here you toggle it on if you’re on iOS or hit enable if you’re an Android user. After you do that, here are some more tips for keeping your Slack feed organized.
Open Telegram, tap the three dots menu button and go to Settings > Chat settings. You can enable Auto-Night Mode and even choose for the theme to change based on what time of day it is.
For an easy dark mode experience, make the switch with Twitch. Select your user profile and go to the gear icon which is in the top-right corner. From there, you just need to tap Enable Dark Mode from the drop-down menu that you get.
Settings and then Privacy will take you to the dark mode setting on Twitter, and you then need to go to Display and sound > display and sound > Dark mode. If you use iOS you toggle on and off, and if you’re on Android you can select on, off, or automatic. The standard dark mode comes out at dark blue, and if that’s quite dark enough, iPhone and iPad get a handy Lights Out option to make it all black. Sadly, Android users still only have the dark blue option, at the moment.
For a darker Waze view, tap on the magnifying glass, find the gear icon and you’ll open the Settings menu from here. Tap on Map Display and you can pick Night which will darken everything, or Auto so there’s a change in color between night and day.
Choose the More menu, tap Settings, and from here go to Visual Style and pick Dark Mode when you’re on your Weather Underground app.
It might be one of the most popular messaging apps, but WhatsApp still hasn’t come out with an official dark mode setting. You can, however, change the wallpaper in every chat window so you can basically create your own dark theme. It’s a bit of effort; you’ll have to make the change in every chat window, but it can be done. Go to the settings window and select Wallpaper and you get a few different options to choose from. The easiest way to do your own dark mode is to choose Solid Color and pick black from the color palette and then choose Set to finalize your selection.
Making Wikipedia dark is pretty simple; go to the hamburger menu in the top-left and go to Settings. At that point, select App theme and you get three choices, light, dark, or black. There’s even a handy preview option before you make your decision.
The eye strain is real when you spend hours glued to YouTube videos; because we all like to binge sometimes. From an Android device, choose your profile pic at the top and go to Settings > General > Dark and you can toggle the mode on. For iOS, again go to the profile pic at the top, then it’s just Settings > Dark theme to toggle it on. You can even make the change when you use the YouTube website; click on your profile pic and you’ll find the Dark Theme option there.