The last week or so has been a real blessing for people like me. I’m talking, of course, about dark mode evangelists. We love white text on dark backgrounds, maybe because it reduces eye strain or maybe because of the darkness in our souls.
Either way, Apple did us a solid when it released iOS 13 last week. The system-level dark mode Apple included is gorgeous and makes native iPhone apps like Messages, Podcasts, and more look way better.
Some apps hopped on the train early; the iOS App Store has a whole section for dark mode apps, and Gmail started rolling it out this week.
But there are still a handful of big-name apps stubbornly holding onto a time when we believed in the light. These are the apps that need to embrace the darkness.
Let’s get maybe the biggest one out of the way, not just because it’s popular but because this story has a happy ending.
You know Facebook, the massive social network with billions (yes, plural billions) of users? Well, those users are forced to look at scorching brightness whenever they open the Facebook mobile app. We get that white has always been a big part of Facebook’s color scheme, but it’s time for Mark Zuckerberg’s app to get in line.
What makes Facebook’s lack of a dark theme even more strange is that the separate Messenger app already has one. One major Facebook product accommodates us dark mode lovers, but the biggest one doesn’t.
Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about this much longer. A test version of Facebook dark mode was spotted in the mobile app this summer, so it’s almost assuredly coming in the near future.
Like its parent company’s flagship app, Instagram still locks users into a searing white interface. Instagram’s look has served it well for almost a decade now, but times are changing. We need to be able to like pet photos and watch vacation stories in the darkness.
Instagram dark mode sounds ominous, but it’s what the world needs. I’m a person who checks Instagram about 20 times per day, and unlike Facebook, I actually care about what I see there. Its old-fashioned white theme is starting to look really out of place next to all of my darkened apps.
Just like Facebook, there’s good news. People have spotted a test version of a dark mode for Instagram’s Android beta just this week. It isn’t here yet, but it seems like both Facebook and Instagram will find themselves on the right side of history before long.
Everyone knows the feeling. You need to get somewhere and you’re not sure how. If it’s dark outside and you open an app like Google Maps or CityMapper to help find your way, you might be blinded by their naturally bright color schemes.
To its credit, Google Maps sort of has a solution for this. You can go into the navigation tab in the app’s settings and set the color scheme to “Night,” which would ideally make all of Google Maps dark and beautiful. Unfortunately, it only changes the color scheme when you’re using the app to navigate somewhere.
CityMapper, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t even have that. We can do better. We must.
Uber and Lyft
Uber and Lyft, two of the most popular ride-sharing apps around, are in the same boat as Google Maps and CityMapper. Both are apps that become infinitely more useful after the sun goes down and both are apps that are content to melt your eyeballs when you try to use them at night.
That’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea. With the world moving toward dark mode ubiquity, Uber and Lyft would generate a lot of goodwill from me and anyone else who cares by adding more night-friendly visual options. This is almost certainly not a big priority for them, but hey, we’re allowed to dream.
The lack of comprehensive dark mode options in popular apps is an oversight, but as Facebook and Instagram have shown, there’s hope for the future. We’re just at the beginning of the journey into the darkness, but I believe in everyone. We can get there.