12 Android apps that prove dark mode is the only mode

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Plus with One UI’s dark mode enabled. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

First, Google announced an official dark mode is coming to Android later this year with the release of Android Q. Then Apple followed by announcing a dedicated dark mode in iOS 13, also available later this year. According to Google, the benefits of using dark mode on your phone is twofold: It uses less of your phone’s battery, and causes less strain on your eyes in dim environments.

Google has flirted with an official dark theme for the past couple of years, and even included a half-baked version in Android Pie 9.0. But with Android Q, the company is providing developers with the proper tools to support a full-fledged dark theme. If you’re an early adopter and want to start using Android Q now, you can sign up for the beta here

In the absence of a true dark mode on Android, third-party developers have taken it upon themselves to add dark modes to their respective apps. With the launch of Android Q still a couple of months away, we found a handful of apps you can use right now that look pretty darn good.


Now playing:
Watch this:

Best dark-mode Android apps to try now

2:18

Apps with a dark mode you have to use

Dark mode in Android Messages. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The official Android Messages app has a lot of features, but one of the most underrated is dark mode support. 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.

Left: Google Calendar’s dark mode. Right: Google Keep’s dark mode. 


Google

Google Calendar and Keep both have a dedicated dark mode. In Calendar, slide out the side menu and go to Settings > General > Theme > Dark. Alternatively, you can opt to have dark mode turned on when your phone uses battery saver. In Keep, go to Settings > Enable Dark Mode

Feedly’s dark mode makes extended reading sessions easier on your eyes. 


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Feedly’s dark mode is found by opening the side panel then selecting Settings > Theme > Night. It’s a nice touch, especially if you spend a lot of time reading various news stories and articles. 

Enable dark mode in Facebook Messenger with just a few taps. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

Facebook Messenger first tested a dark mode that had to be unlocked by sending a crescent moon emoji in a conversation thread. After testing was completeed, the feature became official and can now be just turned on in the Settings.

PocketCasts in dark mode.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Popular podcast app PocketCasts has a dark mode as well. 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.

How to turn on night mode in Google Maps.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

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 has several themes, one of which is Dark. 


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The official Reddit app uses a few different dark mode settings. 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 whenever your phone is in battery saver mode.

Go dark in YouTube.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

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 > Dark theme.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Spend a lot of time in Slack? Then, yeah, you’ll want to use its dark mode. You can find the toggle in the app’s settings by tapping on the three-dot icon in the top-right corner then Settings. Scroll down and find Dark Mode. Tap on it then select Continue. 

Tumblr’s dark mode should make reading text posts in the dark easier on your eyes. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

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

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 sure makes photos stand out. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

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. We currently have access to it on a Pixel 3 XL, but not a OnePlus 7 Pro, so the feature seems to be slowly rolling out. If you don’t have a dark theme enabled on your Android phone, enable it in the settings app in the Display section. 

Dark mode at the system level

The process for enabling dark theme in Android Pie. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

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. 

Night mode on the Galaxy S10 Plus.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When Samsung rolled out its One UI interface refresh for Galaxy phones, 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. 

Originally published April 23, 2019.

Android Pie