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Use these 12 apps to show off iOS 13's new dark mode

Apple's new dark mode for iPhone and iPad looks great on its own, but these apps seal the deal.


Dark Mode on the iPhone sure looks good. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

When Apple released iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 last September, your iPhone or iPad gained a bunch of new features. One of them is a dedicated dark mode that darkens the traditionally white background used in most apps and features. Beyond the added benefits of a darker background saving battery life and causing less eye-strain, it just looks good. 

Apple's Dark Mode affects all of the system apps like Messages or Settings, and third-party developers can implement the new feature into their apps, changing from standard to dark mode based on your device's current state.

Read: Android apps with dark mode you have to try

Before iOS had its own dark mode, it was up to each developer to create a dark version of the app, leaving you to manually change themes for each individual app. The new dark mode setting streamlines that process, as long as an app supports it.

Now playing: Watch this: Best dark mode iOS apps to try now

How to switch to dark mode

There are a couple of different ways you can switch to dark mode on your iPhone or iPad. You can have your device automatically switch based on the time of day, or you can manually turn it on/off through Control Center


Let your iPhone or iPad control when dark mode is in use. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Use the schedule by going to Settings > Display & Brightness and turn on Automatic. Next, tap on Options and select Sunset to Sunrise or set a Custom Schedule


The Control Center shortcut makes it easy to quickly turn Dark Mode on or off. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Add a dark mode toggle to Control Center by going to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and looking for the Dark Mode control under More Controls and tap the "+" next to it. 

Going forward, you can turn dark mode on or off by viewing the Control Center (swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen) and tap on the dark mode icon.

The number of apps that support dark mode continues to grow. If you search the App Store for "dark mode" you'll find a list of Apple-curated apps, along with apps that have "dark" in their name. While Apple's list is helpful, it's still rather limited. Here are some of my favorite apps that support iOS 13's dark mode. 


This calendar app, which integrates iCloud calendar and reminders into one easy-to-read interface, comes with a dark mode. When viewing the main screen, tap on the list icon followed by Settings > Appearance and select how you'd like Fantastical to look whenever the iOS system setting is changed between light and dark. 


Twitter's app supports dark mode. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET


Twitter's dark mode looks pretty darn good. Turn it on by going into the Settings section of the app, then selecting Display and sound > Dark Mode and adjust when you want it to turn on. Turn on Use device setting for automatic switching along with your iPhone or iPad's mode. 


To enable Reddit's dark mode, slide out the menu from the left side of the screen, tap Settings then turn on Automatic in the Dark Mode section. You can change just how dark the theme is by selecting Night theme and selecting your personal preference.

iA Writer

iA Writer is a handy app for writing and jotting notes. You can find its dark mode by selecting the gear icon when viewing your library, then select Appearance > System


Dark mode in the Apple Books app is only a couple of taps away. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple Books

When you're browsing through your library, or looking for new books, the Apple Books app will use the system setting for light or dark mode. Once you open a book, however, you'll need to adjust it on your own. Reading a book on a light background at night is hard on your eyes, so Apple's Books app has a few different color options including a dark mode. When reading a book, tap on the "Aa" icon, then select the color to the far right. You can also adjust the brightness, or enable auto-night theme if you'd rather let your iPhone or iPad handle it for you.


Slack rolled out its dark mode a while back, and now it's tied directly to your system settings. There isn't even a setting in the app for you to turn it on or off. Whatever mode your phone or tablet is in, Slack will be in as well.


Signing a document is easy with SignEasy, and now it looks good in dark mode. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET


If you frequently need to sign documents from your iPhone or iPad, you've probably heard of or use SignEasy. Just like Slack, there isn't a setting for you to adjust. SignEasy will switch between light and dark mode based on the system setting of your device. 


Google's Gmail app gained dark mode support in late 2019. By default, the app will follow your iPhone or iPad's system settings -- meaning if you have dark mode turned on, the Gmail app should follow. However, you can change the setting by opening the Gmail app, sliding out the menu from the left side of the screen and selecting Settings > Theme > Dark.

Apps with their own dark mode setting

There are some apps that continue to use their own dark mode setting but are still worth mentioning. 


Enable Dark Mode in Facebook Messenger with just a few taps. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Facebook Messenger

Facebook officially rolled out dark mode for Messenger a while back. You can now find the toggle with a tap on your profile avatar when viewing a list of your conversations. Night mode should be the first option in settings.


Feedly's dark mode takes two taps to enable. Slide-out the menu by tapping on the menu button in the bottom left corner, then select Night Mode. Easy, right?


Naturally, the Kindle app has similar settings to Apple Books, with in-book settings. When reading a book, tap on the screen to display the various buttons. Select the "Aa" button, then Black at the bottom of the screen.


Do yourself a favor while you read and enable the Kindle app's dark mode. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google Maps

Google Maps will use dark mode automatically when you're using navigation at night, but you can force it to use night mode when navigating during the day. Open Google Maps, slide out the menu on the left side of the screen, and select Settings > Navigation. Scroll down to Map Display and select Night.

Dark mode is just one of many new features in iOS 13. There are several new privacy features and a revamped Reminders app, and Messages has seen its share of updates. We have a complete guide to help you get the most out of the update, and a list of hidden features we've dug up

Do you have any apps that support iOS 13's dark mode that you love using? Let us know in the comments. 

Originally published last year. Updated with more information.