iOS 10 includes a large number of new tricks, some well known, others not as much. One thing many users have wanted in iOS is a proper dark mode, which would change whites in the OS to blacks. But alas, not this time around for iPhones and iPads. Apple currently offers Dark Mode for Apple TV and Macs (Laptops and Desktops) running mac OS Sierra and Mac OSX Yosemite. And Dark Mode a tried and true standard for dedicated digital readers like Amazon’s Kindle.
While we still don’t have the function to enable dark mode, we do have some special tricks that brings us closer to the dream of a robust and fully functioning OS dark mode.
What is Dark Mode Anyway?
Currently, the user interface of iOS is very bright and features really high contrast white-ish backgrounds in almost all of its stock apps (Safari, Mail, Messages, etc.) These bright backgrounds are often distracting, especially when used in dimly lit environments. The result of all tis brightness is often eyestrain and visual fatigue.
Dark Mode inverts your iPhone or iDevice font colors. Your standard iPhone Helvetica font changes to white instead of black. As a result, the white translucent layers are replaced with black translucent layers. Dark Mode changes your Macs’, Apple TV’s, and iDevice’s look and feel and creates easy nighttime viewing.
Most importantly, dark mode offers breathing space and a reprieve for your eyes in low light environments, like restaurants, pubs, and even museums–places where you might find yourself squinting to read. Consequently, dark mode reduces eyestrain and for those of us with aging eyesight, that’s a major benefit. Plus, we think dark mode looks pretty darn cool too.
So here’s how it works!
Setting a Dark Mode Appearance on iDevices
First off, head into Accessibility by going into Settings -> General -> Accessibility. Select Zoom.
Turn Zoom on.
A lens pops up over the screen. At this point, take three fingers and tap three times. This menu now pops up:
Start by selecting Resize lens and then resize it to fill the screen.
Next, triple tap again and move the zoom slider all the way down, so you see the whole screen.
Finally, select ‘Choose Filter’ and then low light.
While this still isn’t allowing us to enable dark mode, it does provide a much easier experience on your eyes, especially at night and in low light situations.
Dark Mode is App Available Right Now!
Many of our favorite reading apps like iBooks and Kindle already include dark mode as an app setting. These change the backgrounds to black and the text to an off-white or light gray. Using dark mode in your reading app is especially useful when reading content on your iDevice at night or in a dark or dimmed environment. For parents, enabling this mode is a must when reading a bedtime story to your children from your iDevice at night. It reduces the amount of light emanating from your iPhone/iPad AND it saves your eyes from eyestrain! So reduced distraction for your children so they fall asleep faster–we hope. A total WIN-WIN.
Apple Maps also has an official Dark Mode, especially useful when driving at night. For Maps, iOS detects a dark environment using its ambient light sensor and alters the colors of Maps. And of course, Apple Watch ONLY has Dark Mode, mainly due to it’s use of OLED displays versus the LED displays of current iPhones, iPads, and other iDevices. The advantage of an OLED display is that it lights up only the pixels that it needs for each particular screen display. That makes OLED displays a heck of a lot more efficient than LED displays. And that matters because the more efficient our display is, the LESS the battery consumes energy.
Dark Mode makes viewing your iDevice in all types of lighting situations a heck of a lot better. Though Apple did not include an official Dark Mode with iOS 10, we fully expect it to arrive soon…maybe in the next update to iOS 10 or perhaps we need to wait until iOS 11. We are crossing our fingers here at AppleToolBox that it arrives sooner than later. For now, Dark Mode is near the top of our iOS 11 wish list! So let your voice be heard by sending Apple some feedback. And join all of us here at appletoolbox in letting Apple know that we want “dark mode” in the next iOS!
We believe not having Dark Mode hurts user experience. So it’s time for a universal Dark Mode Option on all iDevices. So checking email, messages, twitter, facebook, and using Safari are as easy on the eyes as our dedicated reading apps. Let’s face it, we use our iDevices all the time–when riding in a car at night, on overnight flights, and most commonly in bed next to a sleeping person. If and when Apple provides a dark mode within its operating system (iOS) and available for all apps, viewing our iDevices at night and in low/lower light condition will no longer be a challenge or disruption.
But in the meantime, use these filter options to produce a (somewhat) similar effect. For more how-to’s for iOS 10 and all your iDevices and Mac Computers, check out our iOS 10 comprehensive guide. And if you experience problems with iOS 10, take a look at our iOS 10 troubleshooting guide.