After you use dark mode in these 14 Android apps, you won't ever go back
Dark mode not only looks good but helps save battery life and is easier on your eyes.
Jason CiprianiContributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Using your Android phone's dedicated dark mode, be it across the entire system or within specific apps, is more than just a preference for how your phone's interface looks. According to Google, using dark mode as much as possible saves battery life and reduces eye strain when you're using your phone in a dim environment.
Even Facebook is getting onboard with dark mode with its recent announcement that its main app is testing a dark mode with a limited number of Facebook users. In addition to instructions about how to turn on dark mode in the Facebook app, below are apps I've found that either support Android's dark theme or have their own dark mode setting along with where you can find it.
Use Android system-wide dark theme
Turn on Android's dark theme (also referred to as dark mode) by opening the Settings app, selecting Display, and turning on the Dark Theme option. Alternatively, you can swipe down from the top of the screen and look for a night theme/mode toggle in the quick settings panel. Google officially rolled out support for a system-wide dark mode or theme with the release of Android 10 in 2019.
The process for enabling Android 10's dark theme will vary depending on the manufacturer of your phone, if the steps outlined here don't work for you, then use the search function in the Settings app. With dark theme turned on, any apps that have been updated with support for Android's dark settings, along with Google's own apps, will automatically switch to their respective dark themes.
Based on Google's own numbers, odds are you don't have a device that runs Android 10. With that in mind, below are apps that either support Android 10's dark theme, have a dark theme of their own, or offer both.
Apps with a dark mode you have to use
After teasing dark mode in the Gmail app for far too long, Google finally delivered. If you're using the latest version of Gmail, dark mode will automatically turn on when you enable dark theme in Android 10. You also can go into the app's settings followed by General Settings > Theme and select Dark from the list.
Facebook is testing dark mode, so not everyone will have access to it quite yet. I don't have the option, but you can check if you do by opening the Facebook app on your phone, tap the three-button icon to open the many and then scroll the bottom of the page where you'll find Settings & Privacy. Tap it to view a list of more options, where you should find a dark mode setting. If you don't see it listed under settings and privacy, then your account doesn't have access yet. You'll need to keep checking back. Looking at the video in the tweet above, it sure looks like Facebook got dark mode right.
The official Android Messages app has a lot of features, but the app also supports automatically switching alongside Android 10's dark theme, as well as having a dark mode you can manually enable if you don't have Android 10. 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.
Google Calendar and Keep both have a dedicated dark mode with support for Android 10. In Calendar, slide out the side menu and go to Settings > General > Theme > Dark to manually turn it on. In Keep, go to Settings > Enable Dark Mode
Feedly's dark mode is found by opening the side panel then selecting Night Mode. It's a nice touch, especially if you spend a lot of time reading various news stories and articles. Slide out the menu, tap Choose Theme and then select your preferred theme, or if you want the app to automatically switch to match your device's theme.
The first time you launch the podcast app PocketCasts on a device running Android 10, you'll be asked to allow the app to automatically switch between its light and dark theme based on your system's setting. You can manually 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 and can be controlled by Android 10's system setting. 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 based on your phone's system setting.
The YouTube app looks a lot better with dark mode enabled. Turn it on by opening the app and then tap on your profile icon > Settings > General > Appearance. You can select Dark, Light or to use the system setting.
Spend a lot of time in Slack? Then, yeah, you'll want to use its dark mode. It will automatically change with Android 10's system setting, or you can find the toggle in the app's settings by tapping on the You tab in the bottom-right corner then Preferences > Dark Mode.
Tumblr recently updated its app to include a new Color Palette feature, adding three themes, one of which is a dedicated dark mode. To view the new themes, open the Tumblr app, click on your profile icon > settings icon > General Settings > Color Palette.
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.
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.
Dark mode for non-Android 10 devices
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.
rolled out its One UI interface refresh for Galaxy
, 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.