Over the past few years during each Android beta program, Google hinted at bringing an official dark mode to its mobile operating system. It has even come out and said that prominently white backgrounds have a negative impact on a phone’s battery life. Meaning, by using a dark theme or dark mode, your phone’s battery should last longer. Not to mention, viewing a darker interface in a low-light environment is better for your eyes.
Google introduced an official dark theme with the release of Android Pie 9.0. When enabled, your phone will apply the dark theme to things like the quick settings panel, your Google Feed, the app drawer, and a limited number of Google’s system apps such as Contacts. We know that the Android Q beta will bring with it a more robust night mode, but the official launch is still a few months away.
Enable Android Pie’s dark mode to save battery life
Until we see the finalized approach to a dedicated dark mode in Android Q, there are several apps available from Google and third-party developers that look pretty darn good. Below you’ll find seven apps we love the look of, as well as directions on turning on Android Pie’s very basic dark mode.
Apps with a dark mode that look amazing
The official Android Messages app has a lot of features, but one of the most underrated is dark mode support. You don’t have to dig through the settings to turn it on, either. Open the app, tap on the three-dot menu icon in the top-right corner then enable dark mode.
Feedly’s dark mode is found by opening the side panel then selecting Settings > Theme > Night. It’s a nice touch, especially if you spend a lot of time reading various news stories and articles.
Facebook Messenger first tested a dark mode that had to be unlocked by sending a crescent moon emoji in a conversation thread. Eventually, the feature became official and can now be just turned on in the Settings.
Popular podcast app PocketCasts has a dark mode as well. Enable dark mode by going to the Profile tab, then tapping on the Settings icon in the top-right corner. Next, go to Appearance > Theme. Pick from Dark or Extra Dark.
Google Maps doesn’t have a dedicated dark mode throughout the entire app. Instead, there’s a night mode used during nighttime navigation that you can force the app to use at all times. Slide out the menu on the left side of the screen then go to Settings > Navigation settings. Scroll down and select Night under the map display color scheme section.
The official Reddit app uses a few different dark mode settings. You can turn on the night theme at all times in settings under Theme, or you can let the app decide when to go dark based on the time of day or whenever your phone is in battery saver mode.
There are plenty more apps that support a dark mode or night theme. If you really want to go all-in on dark mode, the best bet is to look in each app’s Settings section (appearance or display subsettings are a great place to look) for the option to change the look of the app.
Dark mode at the system level
If your phone is running Android Pie, you can enable its built-in dark mode. The process will vary based on who made your device and any customization made to Android, but for the most part, the following should work: Settings > Display > Advanced > Device Theme > Dark. Once it’s turned on, check out the quick settings panel or your Google Feed — both of which should now be dark.
When Samsung rolled out its One UI interface refresh for Galaxy phones, which includes Android Pie, a Night mode was added (instead of the dark theme approach). Enable Night mode in Settings > Display > Night mode.
Samsung’s night mode takes a more aggressive approach to darkening the interface. For instance, almost immediately the Settings app goes from a white background to black. The quick settings panel and individual notifications will be dark, as well. You’ll also find dark versions of nearly all preinstalled Samsung apps when dark mode is enabled.
Enabling a system-level dark mode or theme ensures that you’re getting all the dark mode your device can dish out. What apps do you regularly use that offer a dark mode? Let us know in the comments.