We have native night modes now, but what about dark themes?

ios switch light

Google announced its first deceloper preview of Android O yeaterday, whose build is in very early days and nowhere near completion, but the fact that Google is openly working on the next big version of Android is exciting, nonetheless. As I went through the changes that are currently known to come with Android O, I couldn’t help but think of changes that I hope to see come final release. The one feature that I’m really hoping to see is actually something that I hope comes to both Android and iOS in the near future: a native dark theme.

As a Galaxy S7 Edge user, I’ve lucked out in the sense that one of Samsung’s many features includes themes. I have a handful of free themes that I’ve downloaded, all of which are dark themes – a welcome change from the bright whites of the menus and notifications in Marshmallow and Nougat. Between themes and Good Lock – which no longer works with the S7 in Nougat, and won’t until the release of the S8 – I’ve successfully given my S7 Edge a “dark theme” without having to do too much.

However, the process could still be easier. Much like the implementation of Night Mode, which enables users to toggle their blue light filter on or off for nighttime viewing that’s easier on the eyes, I consider the option for a system-wide dark theme toggle equally as important.

I’m surprised it hasn’t been implemented yet. It’s a feature that’s been requested time and time again. I’m no developer, but I’m positive that it’s feasible. The option was even teased in early builds of both Marshmallow and Nougat, but scrapped by the final release. Here’s hoping that it’s implemented – and kept – in Android O. On Apple’s side of things, Dark Mode, which turns menu bars a dark color, has been an option on Macs since Yosemite.

Another option that’s worth exploring (for Android, at least) is to natively offer themes. For years users have relied on third-party launchers to provide these services, but even launchers have their limitations. For instance, launcher themes can’t change the colors of system menus and settings, making a dark theme inconsistent across the device. Having system-wide themes natively implemented would solve this issue.

iOS, I’ve since discovered, isn’t much better. Ever since I first owned an iPhone, I felt that a dark theme option would really improve the experience for me. iOS has an accessibility option that inverts colors, essentially giving the device a “dark” theme, but is clearly meant for accessibility purposes only and not for people who simply want a darker theme across their iPhone.

Simply put, a simple native dark theme option should be available across platforms. Currently there are ways to force phones to have a dark theme, but it takes some work to get there. I’m still in the boat that simple native option would be preferable. I like tinkering with my phone and making it look just the way I like it as much as anyone, but in regards to a dark theme, a quick toggle between a preset light/dark theme would make this girl’s retinas very happy.

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