During Google I/O, it was announced that a system-wide dark mode is coming Android phones with the release of Android Q later this year. Google once again touted the benefits of a dark mode or theme being twofold: Less strain on your eyes in dim environments and darker interfaces use less of your phone's battery.
Google has flirted with an official dark theme for the past couple of years, and even included a half-baked version in Android Pie 9.0. But with Android Q, the company is providing developers with the proper tools to support a full-fledged dark theme. If you're an early adopter and want to start using Android Q now, you can sign up for the beta here.
In the absence of a true dark mode on Android, third-party developers have taken it upon themselves to add dark modes to their respective apps. With the launch of Android Q still a couple of months away, we found a handful of apps you can use right now that look pretty darn good.
Apps with a dark mode that look amazing
The official Android Messages app has a lot of features, but one of the most underrated is dark mode support. You don't have to dig through the settings to turn it on, either. Open the app, tap on the three-dot menu icon in the top-right corner then enable dark mode.
Feedly's dark mode is found by opening the side panel then selecting Settings > Theme > Night. It's a nice touch, especially if you spend a lot of time reading various news stories and articles.
Facebook Messenger first that had to be unlocked by sending a crescent moon emoji in a conversation thread. Eventually, the feature became official and can now be just .
Popular podcast app PocketCasts has a dark mode as well. Enable dark mode by going to the Profile tab, then tapping on the Settings icon in the top-right corner. Next, go to Appearance > Theme. Pick from Dark or Extra Dark.
Google Maps doesn't have a dedicated dark mode throughout the entire app. Instead, there's a night mode used during nighttime navigation that you can force the app to use at all times. Slide out the menu on the left side of the screen then go to Settings > Navigation settings. Scroll down and select Night under the map display color scheme section.
The official Reddit app uses a few different dark mode settings. You can turn on the night theme at all times in settings under Theme, or you can let the app decide when to go dark based on the time of day or whenever your phone is in battery saver mode.
The YouTube app looks a lot better with dark mode enabled. by opening the app and then tap on your profile icon > Settings > General > Dark theme.
Spend a lot of time in Slack? Then, yeah, you'll want to use its dark mode. You can find the toggle in the app's settings by tapping on the three-dot icon in the top-right corner then Settings. Scroll down and find Dark Mode. Tap on it then select Continue.
There are plenty more apps that support a dark mode or night theme. If you really want to go all-in on dark mode, the best bet is to look in each app's Settings section (appearance or display subsettings are a great place to look) for the option to change the look of the app.
Google Photos now has a dark mode that's activated whenever you enable a dark or night theme on your Android phone. You won't find a toggle in the app's settings menu and there's no specific update that appears to have enabled it. We currently have access to it on a Pixel 3 XL, but not a OnePlus 7 Pro, so the feature seems to be slowly rolling out. If you don't have a dark theme enabled on your Android phone, enable it in the settings app in the Display section.
Dark mode at the system level
If your phone is running Android Pie, you can enable its built-in dark mode. The process will vary based on who made your device and any customization made to Android, but for the most part, the following should work: Settings > Display > Advanced > Device Theme > Dark. Once it's turned on, check out the quick settings panel or your Google Feed -- both of which should now be dark.
When Samsung rolled out its One UI interface refresh for Galaxy phones, which includes Android Pie, a Night mode was added (instead of the dark theme approach). Enable Night mode in Settings > Display > Night mode.
Samsung's night mode takes a more aggressive approach to darkening the interface. For instance, almost immediately the Settings app goes from a white background to black. The quick settings panel and individual notifications will be dark, as well. You'll also find dark versions of nearly all preinstalled Samsung apps when dark mode is enabled.
Enabling a system-level dark mode or theme ensures that you're getting all the dark mode your device can dish out. What apps do you regularly use that offer a dark mode? Let us know in the comments.
Originally published April 23, 2019.