Google Crushes Dreams of a Universal Dark Mode For Android, For Now

By Tom McKay on at

Some Android users watching Google’s Issue Tracker board got very excited this week when one of the company’s engineers confirmed that a dedicated dark mode for night browsing would be “available in a future release,” but alas, this was not to be.

Per TechCrunch, instead of the much-desired dark mode feature—which some users insist is easier on the eyes, potentially reduces battery drain, and just looks plain cool—the note apparently referred instead to a developer feature intended to improve dark mode support for third-party app creators. In a post to the Issue Tracker board, the engineer clarified:

What we *have* added in a future Android release is a developer-facing setting (via Developer Options) to toggle the -night UI mode qualifier, which will make it easier for developers to create and test apps that implement night mode. This qualifier has been in the platform since Froyo (SDK 8) and globally modifiable via UiModeManager since Marshmallow (SDK 23); however, there was never an explicit toggle made available anywhere in Settings.

As The Next Web noted, users can simply apply custom-built Android screens to achieve much of the same effect, while numerous apps already have night mode built including Twitter, YouTube, and a few stock internet browsers. Some Android phones already toggle themes depending on the time of day, though it’s not the same as a manual setting that users can apply across the board.

The engineer added that the continued lack of a universal dark mode is at least not because they are wasting time on a “Hot Dog Mode”:

If it’s any consolation, we will also not be adding Hot Dog Mode (where all UI elements are yellow and red).

It’s a shame that dark mode isn’t coming to Android yet, since it’s clearly the best way to run apps even in the daytime (the night mode users will rule this galaxy!). Seeing as it’s pretty easy to replicate most of the mode’s functionality with third-party tools or simply turn on Android’s existing blue light filter (though this ends up looking more like f.lux than what users might expect out of a night mode), this might not the most pressing feature add. Still, one can dream. [TechCrunch]


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