This story has been updated. It was originally published on March 30, 2019.
Black text on a white background isn’t just boring—it’s blinding. When you’re using your phone or computer at night, the last thing you need is a bright screen torching your eyeballs. Turning the brightness to less than zero can help, but thankfully, companies have added new ways to darken their apps. If that appeals to you, here’s how to “Dark Mode” all the things.
Windows 10 has had a dark mode for a while, but for a long time it only affected the settings panel and the Microsoft Store. In 2018, Microsoft extended those grey backgrounds to the File Explorer as well, inching a bit closer to system-wide darkness. Couple that with a dark wallpaper and you’ve got the beginnings of a desktop you might actually want to use at night. Just open the Settings app and head to Personalization > Colors and under Choose your color choose Dark.
Mac users have had the dark mode option for a while, affecting the menu bar and plenty of apps, whether they’re built-in or added on. To switch it on, open System Preferences and click the General pane. At the top of the window, choose Dark for your appearance, and everything should change immediately.
Google Chrome and Firefox
Darkening your browser is easy. Both Chrome and Firefox hook directly into the dark modes offered by Windows 10 and macOS, so if you switch your operating system to dark mode, your browser should automatically follow. If you have a theme installed in Chrome, the system dark mode won’t override it, so you’ll have to go back and reset it to the default theme. To do this, click on the three dots in the upper right corner, and then go to Settings. On the panel to the left, click on Appearance, and on the first line choose Reset to default.
If you prefer to enable dark mode on its own, Firefox allows you to switch it on manually by right-clicking the title bar, choosing Customize, and going to Themes at the bottom of the window, and choosing Dark. Other browsers have their own separate dark modes too, including Microsoft Edge and Opera, which you can find in their respective settings menus.
Apple’s iPhones have a customizable dark mode, and a lot of iOS apps have their own built in (which we’ll talk about in a moment). To turn on dark mode in iOS, open Settings, go to Display & Brightness, and tap the bubble under Dark. If you want to automatically switch between light and dark, turn on the toggle switch next to Automatic and choose a schedule. And if you want a lighter or darker dark mode, you can adjust the Brightness slider to your heart’s content.
For a slightly different look or to see what we had to do before Apple rolled out a true dark mode, you can try the color inversion option that makes your iPhone’s screen look like a photo negative, or the newer Smart Invert feature that aims to darken the phone without making the color shift quite as jarring. You can turn these on by heading to Settings, Accessibility, and then Display & Text Size. There, toggle on Smart Invert or Classic Invert.
You can also create a shortcut for this color change by going back to the Accessibility menu, selecting Accessibility Shortcut at the bottom of the list, and checking Smart Invert. With that checked, you can triple-click your side button (or home button if your phone has one) to turn on Smart Invert at a moment’s notice.
Every Android phone is a little different, thanks to version fragmentation and the various manufacturer skins companies such as Samsung add to their phones. If your phone is running the latest version of Android (11.0 or just R), you can head to Settings, Display, and toggle on the switch beside Dark theme.
Again, Android can differ from phone to phone, so how exactly you’ll see dark mode display on your device, and how to turn it on, may vary—chances are it’s somewhere in that Settings app.
All your favorite apps and sites
The above settings will cover the main operating systems, but a ton of apps offer their own dark modes, or something similar. Here are a few of the most common ones:
On the web, you can choose a dark theme by clicking the settings gear in the upper right corner, clicking on See all settings, and heading to Themes. There, click on Set theme, and on the pop-up window scroll down to the color themes and choose Dark. Keep in mind that your emails will still appear on a white background when you open them.
On mobile, open the Gmail app, tap on the three lines in the upper left corner, and swipe up to find Settings. Tap on it, then on General settings, and then on Themes. Finally, tap the checkbox next to Dark.
Facebook originally soft-launched Messenger’s dark mode with an adorable secret trick that required you to send a friend the crescent moon emoji in a chat. Now, however, you can simply head over to the Facebook page and click on the downward arrow in the upper right corner of your screen. There, choose Display & Accessibility and under Dark mode mark the checkbox next to On. On mobile, just tap your profile picture, then Dark mode, and finally the checkbox right next to On.
Twitter updated this feature a couple of years ago, and you can find its Dark Mode on the left side panel by clicking on More and Display. There are two versions: Dim, which turns things a deep navy blue, and Lights Out, which turns them pitch-black. The latter will save battery on phones with OLED screens that turn black pixels off entirely, such as the iPhone X and Xs.
On mobile, tap on the three lines in thetop left of your screen, and at the bottom left, tap on the light bulb. There, you’ll be able to apply a Dark theme, but also just activate Dark mode by tapping on the checkbox next to On.
YouTube gets a gold star for its Dark Mode feature, which is available on both the web and its mobile apps. On the web, just click your profile image in the upper-right corner and click on Appearance, and then Dark Theme. On the mobile app, open Apps Settings” from your profile picture.
On Android, tap on your profile picture, then on Settings, and then General. There, choose Appearance and tap the checkbox next to Dark theme. On iOS, open Settings, then go to General and flip the Dark theme toggle switch.
If you’re a heavy Reddit user, you can enable its dark mode on the web by clicking your username and toggling Dark Mode on. If you’re using the mobile app, you’ll find this mode on the main Settings page, though you can also use third-party Reddit apps like Narwhal or Reddit Is Fun, which contain lots of useful features and their own dark modes.
The Slack mobile app offers a Dark Mode for each workspace. Tap on the profile pic of the workspace in the upper left corner of the screen, and at the bottom choose Preferences. There, choose Dark Mode and tap the checkbox next to On. On the desktop app the path is similar—in preferences, go to Themes and choose Dark.
There’s no official dark mode, but you can choose a darker theme from Settings, and then Themes.
Press the Xbox button on your controller, select Profile & System, then Settings, Ease of Access, High Contrast, and switch Dark Theme on.
Navigate to the Switch’s System Settings from the main menu, then head to Themes and turn the Basic Black option on.
You’re probably starting to get the idea. If you have a favorite app not listed here, check its settings and see if it supports a dark mode. Plenty do, including Wikipedia, Instagram, Pocket, IMDB, Waze, Google Maps, countless weather apps, and more. Dark websites are a bit rarer, but some browser extensions (like Dark Mode or Dark Theme for Chrome) can alter many of them for you.