What Is Android Dark Mode? And How to Enable It

This mode replaces dark themes for Android

Some users find dark themes for Android easier on the eyes than the default interface. How you turn on Android dark mode depends on which version of Android your smartphone or tablet is running.

Instructions in this article apply to Android 10 and Android 9 (Pie). Dark mode is not available in older versions of the operating system.

How to Enable Android Dark Mode on Android 10

By default, the theming tint is set to the same wallpaper detection-based automatic mode as older versions of Android, but there are now dedicated options for a permanent color theme. To enable the dark theme on Android 10 devices:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap Display.

  3. Tap the toggle switch beside Dark Theme to enable it.

    Screenshost of the steps needed to enable Dark theme on Android 10.

From there, swipe down from the top of your screen to get to your quick settings. You'll see the new and dark gray background with white text. Some apps, such as Google Chrome, Google Pay, and YouTube, will also automatically adapt to the dark theme.

Android developers now have the option to add dark mode support to Android apps.

How to Enable Android Dark Mode on Android 9.0 Pie

Android 9.0 (Pie) added an option to toggle between dark and light themes, but the process is a little different than Android 10. To enable dark mode on Android 9:

  1. Launch the Settings app and tap Display.

  2. Tap Advanced to expand the list of options.

  3. Scroll down and tap Device theme, then tap Dark in the pop-up dialog box.

Android 9 Dark Mode Limitations

On Android 9, the settings menu and other interface elements, like the notifications that pop up below the quick settings, remain tinted to a light theme consisting of a white background and black text. However, if you know how to change your Android wallpaper, you can pair dark mode with a lighter wallpaper for a more consistent experience.

Users can also supplement the dark interface by configuring individual apps to their respective dark modes. A few Google apps provide options for a dark theme that is fairly consistent with the quick settings dark UI.

How to Enable Dark Mode for Android Messages

The Android Messages app will automatically switch to match the dark theme on Android 10 devices. On Android 9, the Messages app can be manually customized with a dark theme:

  1. Launch the Messages app.

  2. Tap the three-dot icon in the upper-right area of the app.

  3. Tap Enable dark mode.

From there, your Messages app will immediately flip to a dark gray background with white text, with the colored contact icons retaining their original palette.

How to Enable Dark Mode for YouTube

YouTube has a corresponding dark look as well. To enable it:

  1. Tap your profile icon in the top-right corner of the app.

  2. Tap Settings.

  3. Tap General.

    The profile, settings, and general options in the YouTube app for Android.
  4. Tap the toggle switch beside Dark theme. You should now see video thumbnails, comments, and other text areas on a dark gray background.

    The Dark theme on YouTube for Android.