Dark mode in iOS 13: Everything we know about Apple's new feature for iPhones – CNET

Dark mode is coming to iPhones with iOS 13. Apple announced the new systemwide color scheme on Monday at its annual WWDC conference in San Jose. Dark mode essentially inverts the usual white background and black text to apply a black background and white text. The idea is to look cool, and also to reduce eye strain you might experience taking in a brightly lit screen, especially at night.

Dark modes and themes are a hot trend right now in phones. Google is also applying a dark theme to its Android Q operating system, the company announced last month at its annual developer conference, Google I/O. And app makers including YouTube and Reddit have created dark modes for both iPhone and Android. Apple already implemented Dark Theme in the last version of its desktop OS, MacOS Mojave.

Apple doesn’t share a whole lot of information about the ins and outs of dark mode, but here’s what we know about the new feature so far — and what we don’t.

When can I get dark mode for iPhone? 

All the new iOS 13 features will arrive for iPhones this fall — that is, for iPhone 6S and newer — and you’ll still get it if you have the iPhone SE ($249 at Apple) and new iPod Touch ($200 at Walmart). If you’re in a rush, you can try it out on the public beta that Apple will release in July, and developers can get started immediately, if they have a developer account.

How do you turn it on? 

You’ll turn on dark mode by swiping into the Control Center (either up from the bottom or down from the top right corner, depending on which iPhone you have). Then just tap the button to toggle on the control. 

You’ll also be able to schedule dark mode to turn on only at night, and turn off again during the day. It sounds like you’ll be able to set those hours, as you can with night mode for Samsung Galaxy phones and Wind Down, Google’s greyscale app for getting sleepy.

Read: Lower screen brightness on iPhone to make your screen extra dark

Now playing: Watch this: Dark Mode comes to Apple iOS


Will dark mode automatically work with all my apps?

Dark mode will work with systemwide apps on your iPhone, including Messages, Safari, the camera and photo gallery, the calendar, internal menus and Maps. Every app that Apple controls itself should support Dark Mode.

However, third-party apps might not all work with dark mode immediately. Apple hopes that in releasing OS 13 to developers early, they’ll get to work programming their apps to run in dark mode when you turn it on.

As with dark mode in Android Q , it’s possible that iPhone apps that don’t have a dedicated night mode or dark theme can get in on the feature automatically when you turn on dark mode in the settings, by inverting the colors.

Will it work for iPad? 

For the first time ever, this year’s iOS release won’t power the iPad. Instead, Apple broke off iPadOS, a dedicated version of its operating system to work with the iPad’s signature tablet features. However, iPadOS is based on iOS and will also feature systemwide dark mode.

Now playing: Watch this: iOS 13 is packed with new features


Why is Apple using dark mode now?

Dark themes have certainly been around for years as third-party apps and themes. Unlike Google, Apple didn’t say why it’s looking into dark mode, though we’re sure high demand was certainly part of it. 

Apple doesn’t have a track record of being terribly concerned about trends, often bringing out features years after competitors. It’s always been much more concerned about getting things right than getting them first. It’s also possible that Apple used MacOS Mojave as a test bed before moving on to the highly scrutinized iOS. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

See everything Apple announced at WWDC 2019.


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