How to Turn On Dark Mode on iPhone and iPad

Learn to use iOS dark mode to change the color theme on your device

If you've used your iPhone or iPad in a dark room, you know it can mess with your night vision and even give you eye strain. That's where Dark Mode for iPhone and iPad comes in. When you turn on this mode on your devices, using them in the dark becomes much nicer. Here's what you need to know.

This article applies to iPhones and iPod touches running iOS 13 and up, and iPads running iPadOS 13 and up.

A woman using an iPhone in a dark room
Eugenio Marongiu / Cultura / Getty Images

What Is Dark Mode on iPhone?

Dark Mode is a feature that temporarily turns some light colors on your screen to dark ones. It doesn't switch all colors; for instance, a photo of a bright day doesn't suddenly become dark. Instead, Dark Mode changes light elements of your device's interface — menus, basic parts of the operating system, app backgrounds — to darker versions. This is done to prevent eyestrain in low-light environments and can sometimes help save a little battery life.

Not all apps support Dark Mode. Developers need to update their apps to take advantage of it, but all parts of the iOS and iPadOS support it, as do the pre-loaded apps from Apple.

If you have visual impairments related to color, Dark Mode may help. That said, the Invert Colors feature built into the iOS is designed specifically for you. Learn about it in How to Invert Colors on iPhone and iPad.

How to Turn On Dark Mode on iPhone and iPad

Enabling Dark Mode on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is easy. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Display & Brightness.

  3. Tap Dark. Your device will switch to Dark Mode.

    Settings, Display & Brightness, Dark mode

How to Schedule or Automatically Turn iPhone Dark Mode On and Off

If you really love Dark Mode and want to use it every day, you can schedule when it turns on and off. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness.

  2. Toggle the Automatic slider to on/green.

  3. Tap Options just beneath Automatic.

  4. To have Dark Mode automatically enabled on your iPhone or iPad from sunset to sunrise in your local timezone, tap Sunset to Sunrise.

  5. If you want to choose when Dark Mode turns on and off, tap Custom Schedule.

    Automatic toggle, Sunset to Sunrise option, Custom Schedule option
  6. Tap Light Appearance to choose when the standard, light mode will be used on your device, then tap Dark Appearance to choose when Dark Mode will turn on.

How to Enable iPhone Dark Mode Using Control Center

Not interested in scheduling Dark Mode on your iPhone or iPad, but also don't want to navigate through the iOS settings every time you want to use it? You can add a dark mode shortcut to Control Center. Here's how:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Control Center.

  3. Tap Customize Controls.

    Settings, Control Center, Customize Controls
  4. Tap the green + next to Dark Mode.

  5. After Dark Mode is added to the Include menu at the top of the screen, you can leave the Settings app.

  6. Open Control Center by swiping down from the top right corner on the iPhone X and newer; swipe up from the bottom of the screen on the iPhone 8 and earlier.

  7. To turn on Dark Mode, tap the half light and half dark icon.

    Dark Mode plus button, Dark Mode in Include section, Dark Mode on Control Center
  8. Close Control Center and your iPhone or iPad will be in dark mode. Repeat these steps to turn off Dark Mode.

The Apple TV also has a dark mode that makes looking at a bright screen in a dark room more pleasant. Learn how to enable Apple TV Dark Mode by reading 15 Awesome Things You Can Do With Apple TV.