How to Enable Safari Dark Mode

Avoid eye strain with these settings

What to Know

  • Turning on dark mode in system preferences will enable the mode for compatible websites.
  • If a website has a Reader button on the left side of the search field, click it to go dark.
  • Use a Safari extension to enable dark mode on all websites. We recommend Night Eye and Dark Reader

This article covers three options to enable and disable Safari's Dark Mode on your Mac: via system preferences, by using Safari Reader View and using a browser extension.

How to Turn on Safari's Dark Mode via MacOS

At night, black text on white backgrounds is particularly tough on your eyes. It's very simple to switch on Dark Mode for your Mac. It doesn't just turn on Dark Mode for Safari, it does so for all your apps but that's perfect for protecting your eyes late at night or in dim lighting conditions.

Dark Mode is only available in macOS Mojave or later.

  1. Click the Apple icon on the top left of your screen.

    MacOS desktop with Apple icon highlighted
  2. Click System Preferences.

    MacOS desktop with System Preferences highlighted
  3. Click General.

    MacOS System Preferences with General highlighted
  4. Click Dark.

    MacOS System Preferences with Dark Appearance highlighted

    If you want the dark appearance to only appear at night, you can click Auto for it to automatically adjust as the day progresses.

  5. All websites that have been designed to support Dark Mode will now show in a darker form than before.

How to Switch off Safari Dark Mode

Switched on Dark Mode and realized you don't like it? It's simple to switch it back off.

  1. As above, click the Apple icon on the top left of your screen and then choose System Preferences > General.

  2. Click Light.

    MacOS System Preferences with Light appearance highlighted
  3. MacOS and Safari will now return to the light background permanently until you choose to switch it over again. 

How to Use Safari Reader View to Turn on Dark Mode

Depending on the website you're viewing, the only thing that may go dark with MacOS's Dark Mode is the buttons and menus around the website. To ensure the site goes fully dark to protect your eyes, you need to use Safari's Reader View.

Safari Reader View only works on certain websites. Often, this is restricted to blog posts and other text-heavy websites. It's worth using when able to though. 

  1. On the website you want to view, click the Reader button on the left side of the search field.

    Safari with the Reader button highlighted in the search bar

    This only appears on websites that support Safari Reader View.

  2. Click the letter button on the right side of the search field.

    Safari with Reader View enabled and the letter option icon highlighted
  3. Click the black background to change the background color. 

    Safari with Reader View enabled and the black background option highlighted

    You can also adjust font size and font choice here.

  4. The background has now been changed to a dark one with white text. 

    Safari with Reader View's black background enabled
  5. Click away from the article to revert back to the original look or press the Escape key on your keyboard.

How to Use a Dark Mode Extension in Safari

The above solutions work only on a limited number of websites. If you want to enable Dark Mode for every website, you need to use a Safari extension. Many of these cost money but they can be useful. We recommend using either Night Eye which is free but limited or paying a one-off fee for Dark Reader. The process is the same for both extensions.

  1. Install either Night Eye or Dark Reader from the Mac App Store.

  2. Open Safari then click Safari > Preferences.

  3. Click the Extensions tab.

    Safari options with the Extensions tab highlighted
  4. Check the box next to your newly installed extension to enable Dark Mode.

    Safari Extensions with the tick box for enabling an extension highlighted
  5. Both of these extensions should convert the vast majority of websites to Dark Mode as and when you need it.