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Gmail dark mode is coming to iOS and Android phones. Turn it on now

Here's how to turn on Gmail's dark mode in Android 10 and on your iPhone.

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Derek Poore/CNET

With Android 10, and iOS 13, you can now apply a systemwide dark theme across Google's and Apple's mobile OSes. The dark mode isn't automatically applied everywhere, however, and a few popular apps -- including Gmail -- lack a dark-mode setting. Starting this week, however, Google's popular mail app is no longer a holdout, as the company is rolling out a dark-mode setting for Gmail on Android 10 on iOS. Google is pushing the update out slowly -- over a few weeks -- so if you don't have it yet, Google says it's coming shortly.

Dark mode is increasingly in demand. Before Apple and Google embraced it, the popularity of dark modes for apps was already growing, for Facebook Messenger and the Slack and Reddit apps, for example.

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With dark mode, you can conserve a bit of battery life and your phone's screen will be easier on your eyes at night. Google first added dark mode to an Android Pie update earlier this year, but the theme didn't show up everywhere. In Android 10, dark mode is much more widespread, and apps that use the default system theme will automatically adopt the new dark mode when you turn it on, inverting dark and light colors. The new version of Apple's mobile operating system also applies the theme broadly, from wallpaper, widgets and notifications to Calendar and Messages.

First, here's how to turn dark mode on in Gmail on Android 10.

Turn on the Gmail dark mode setting in Android 10

gmaildarkmode

In Android 10, you can now apply a dark theme to Gmail.

Google. Screenshot Clifford Colby/CNET

While many of Google's Android apps will adopt a dark theme when you turn it on in overall settings, you can flip it on separately in Gmail.

1. In the Gmail app on your phone, tap the hamburger menu in the top left.

2. Scroll to the bottom of the list, and tap Settings.

3. Tap General settings.

4. At the top of the list, tap Theme.

5. Tap Dark or, if you've already set the dark theme as your system default, tap System default.

Set dark theme as the system default in Android 10

For those apps that automatically adopt the default system, here's how to turn on the dark theme.

1. In Settings, tap Display.

2. Near the bottom of the list of settings, toggle on Dark theme.

Next, here's how to turn dark mode on in Gmail in iOS 13.

Turn on the Gmail dark mode setting in iOS 13

If you've set your iOS 13 device to use the new systemwide dark appearance (by going to Settings, then Display & Brightness and then tapping Dark) Gmail by default will apply  the theme once you receive the update from Google. If you're using iOS 13's Light appearance, however, here's how to turn it on in Gmail when it's available.

1. In the Gmail app, tap the hamburger menu in the top left.

2. Scroll to the bottom of the list, and tap Settings.

3. Tap Theme.

4. Tap Dark.

You can also enable the dark theme in iOS 11 and 12 by going to Gmail's Settings and selecting Dark Theme.

Originally published earlier this month. Updated with details about rollout.

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