How to unlock the Pixel 2's secret dark theme

It's actually ridiculously easy.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read
James Martin/CNET
Watch this: Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL first look

It's so subtle you might not even notice. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones have a light and dark theme that will change based on the phone's wallpaper. 

If you have a predominately light phone background, your app drawer, folders and quick settings backdrops will be white, while a dark-colored wallpaper will turn them black.

Enlarge Image

The light theme can be seen on the left, and the dark theme on the right.

Screenshot by Lynn La/CNET

While dark themes are nothing new -- they were a notable feature of Windows phones -- they are harder to find on Android devices. Often you'd have to root your device or download a separate theme or launcher to get a dark theme on your Android phone. So seeing the Pixel 2 come with a built-in dark theme is a nice little surprise.

Finding the Pixel 2's dark mode

To change your Pixel 2 between dark and light themes, all you have to do is swap your phone background between an image that is brightly colored (for the light theme) or one that is predominately black (for the dark theme).

The dark theme will look extra nice on the Pixel 2 thanks to its AMOLED display. Because AMOLED displays light up each pixel individually, the display essentially turns off for black colors, which results in deeper black hues. This also has the added benefit of slightly better battery life because not every display pixel is lit up with a darker theme.

With the Pixel 2's dark theme easier on your eyes and your battery, what's not to love? We're hoping Google brings the feature to other Android devices.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be in stores on Oct. 19.

Pixel 2 and 2 XL photos: Feast your eyes

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