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 down beyond its limit can help, but thankfully, companies have added new ways to darken their apps. If that appeals to you, here’s how to turn on dark mode for all the things.
Turn on dark mode for Windows 10 and 11
For a long time, Windows’ dark mode 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. Turning on dark mode for Windows is easy, but the final steps differ depending on which version of the operating system you have:
- Windows 10: Open the Settings app and head to Personalization, then Colors, find Choose your color, and pick Dark.
- Windows 11: Open the Settings app, go to Personalization, then Colors, find Choose your mode, and select Dark from the dropdown menu to the right.
How to use dark mode on a Mac
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. As with Windows, the steps you’ll need to take to turn on dark mode will differ if you’re using macOS Ventura or something older:
- macOS Ventura or later: Open the Apple menu, select System Settings, then Appearance. At the top of the window, choose Dark.
- Earlier versions of macOS: Open the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and click General. From there, choose Dark for your appearance.
Dark modes for browsers
Darkening your browser is easy. Many of the most popular ones hook directly into the dark modes offered by Windows and macOS, so if you dim your OS, your browser should automatically follow. Safari actually doesn’t have a dark mode—it matches your Mac’s appearance. But beyond that, there are nuances for each browser and many have dark modes of their own.
Chrome does not have a standalone dark mode, but you can choose one of many dark themes available in the Chrome Web Store. That said, if you have a theme installed on Chrome, your computer’s system-wide theme won’t override it, so you’ll have to reset your browser to the default theme. To do so, click on the three dots in the upper right corner and go to Settings. In the sidebar on the left, click Appearance, and from the first line choose Reset to default.
Another option is to use one of the hidden Chrome settings known as “flags.” To find it, type chrome://flags into your address bar and put “force dark” into the search bar at the top of the subsequent page. This should turn up only one result, but if there are multiple, you want Auto Dark Mode for Web Contents. Finally, click the dropdown menu to the right and select Enabled.
To turn on Firefox’s dark mode, click the hamburger menu (three lines) in the top right, go to Settings, make sure you’re in the General tab, find the Language and Appearance heading, and select Dark under Website appearance.
Internet Explorer is dead; long live Microsoft Edge. To activate dark mode while using this often overlooked browser, click the three dots in the top right corner, hit Settings, go to Appearance, and select Dark. The same page also offers several themes, some of which you may prefer over the default dark mode, like “dark and stormy,” “cool slate,” and “moonlight glow.”
This Chromium-based browser might have the easiest dark mode setup of them all: from any open Opera window, click the Easy Setup menu (three sliders) in the top right and choose Dark from the top of the menu. You can also select System if you want it to match your computer’s OS.
How to activate dark mode on iOS
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, scrolling to the General heading at the bottom, selecting Accessibility Shortcut, and checking Classic Invert and/or Smart Invert. With one or both of those checked, you can triple-click your side button (or home button if your phone has one) to bring up a list of all accessibility shortcuts whether your phone’s locked or not.
How to turn on Android’s dark mode
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 (13), 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 it’ll implement dark mode on your device, and the steps you’ll need to take to to turn it on, may vary—chances are it’s somewhere in that Settings app.
Darken all your favorite apps, sites, and devices
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 Set theme, and in the pop-up window scroll down to the color themes and choose Dark (it’s a black rectangle). Keep in mind that your emails will still appear on a white background when you open them.
On Android, open the Gmail app, tap the three lines in the upper left corner and scroll down to find Settings. Tap on it, then hit General settings, and then Theme. Finally, tap the checkbox next to Dark. Sorry iPhone users—these options aren’t available to you.
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 click on your profile photo in the top right corner of any Facebook page. There, choose Display & accessibility and under Dark mode click the bubble next to On. If you’re using the mobile Messenger app, tap the three lines in the top left, then the cog icon to open the settings menu. Hit Dark mode and either turn it On or ask the app to match your System theme.
Twitter updated this feature a number of years ago, and you can find its dark mode on the left side panel by clicking through More > Settings and Support > Display. There are two versions: Dim, which turns things a deep navy blue, and Lights Out, which turns them pitch-black. The latter will extend the battery life of phones with OLED screens that turn black pixels off entirely, such as the iPhone 13 and 14.
On mobile, tap your profile pic in the top left of your screen, and in the bottom left, tap the sun icon. There, you’ll be able to turn on Dark mode, choose to Use device settings, or activate the Dim or Lights out theme.
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 choose Appearance. There, you’ll have the option to turn on Dark theme or Use device theme.
On the Android and iOS mobile apps, tap your profile picture, then Settings, General, and Appearance to get the same options.
You can use Reddit in dark mode on the web by clicking your username and toggling Dark Mode on. If you’re in the mobile app, tap your avatar, then Settings and scroll to the Dark Mode heading to mess around with the toggle switches and options there. 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.
Slack’s Android 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. Unfortunately, the iOS app doesn’t have these options, so you’ll have to change your phone’s system theme.
PlayStation 4 and 5
There’s no official dark mode on the two most recent PlayStation consoles, but you can adjust the settings to make many features darker. How you get there depends on the console you have:
- PS4: From the home screen, bump the left joystick up and scroll over to Settings on the right. Find Themes, choose Select Theme, and find a dark one you like.
- PS5: Open the console settings via the cog icon in the top right, go to Accessibility, Display and Sound, and pick High Contrast to darken aspects of your screen.
Xbox One, X, and S
Press the Xbox button on your controller, select Profile & system, then Settings, General, and Personalization. From there, select My color & theme, find System theme, and choose Dark. You can also pick Scheduled to have your theme change at set times.
Navigate to the Switch’s System Settings from the home screen, 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 to 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 for Chrome) can alter many of them for you.
This story has been updated. It was originally published on March 30, 2019.