How to Enable Dark Mode on your iPhone and iPad

Switching to dark mode in the Control Center shown on an iPhone running iOS 13Khamosh Pathak

Dark mode is everywhere from Mac, Windows, Android, and now on iPhone and iPad. iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 finally brings the coveted feature to Apple devices. It looks great and works automatically with supported applications and websites.

How to enable dark mode on iPhone and iPad

When you turn on dark mode, the entire user interface of your iPhone or iPad turns around. You now see a black background and white text. Apple has opted for a real black theme, which means that the background is almost always black instead of a dark gray.

App dashboard screen iOS Reminders 13Khamosh Pathak

This is perfect for iPhones with an OLED display (iPhone X, XS, Max XS, 11 and 11 Max) as the pixels do not light up. To maintain readability, Apple has opted for a gray background for some background elements. We talked about the the subtleties of the dark mode interface in detail before.

So let's get down to business. To enable dark mode on your iPhone or iPad, first open the Control center.

If you have an iPhone X device with a notch, slide your finger from the top right edge of the screen. The same goes for iPad users. If you're using an iPhone with a Home button, swipe down to open the Control Center.

Slide your finger from the top right corner to access the Control Center on iPhone

Here, press and hold on the "Brightness" slider.

Press and hold the brightness slider in the Control Center

Now, press the "Dark Mode" button to activate it. If you want to disable the feature, you can press the icon again.

Press the dark mode switch in the brightness slider to activate the dark mode

Alternatively, you can enable or disable the dark mode via the Settings menu. You can do this by going to Settings> Display and tap "Dark".

RELATED, RELATED, RELATED: How the dark mode of iOS 13 works on your iPhone and iPad

Add a dark mode Switch to the control center

If you're like me, you'll want a switch dedicated to dark mode. It is available as an additional flip-flop in the Control Center.

To enable it, go to Settings> Control Center> Customize Controls.

Tap Customize Controls from the Settings application.

From this screen, tap the "+" button next to "Dark Mode".

Press the More button next to Dark Mode to add the control in the Control Center.

This will activate the failover in dedicated dark mode at the end of the Control Center. Press the button to enable or disable the dark mode. No need to go in the brightness menu!

Press the new dark mode control in the Control Center to quickly activate the dark mode.

Set dark mode on a schedule

You can also automate the dark mode by configuring a calendar. Open the application "Settings" and go to "Display and Brightness".

In the "Appearance" section, tap the button next to "Automatic".

Enable dark mode from settings

Then press the "Options" button to switch between the "Sunset at Dawn" option and the "Custom Program" option.

Set a custom program for dark mode in iOS 13

If you choose the "Custom Schedule" option, you will be able to specify the exact time at which the dark mode should activate.

Dark mode works with compatible apps and websites

Just like macOS Mojave, dark mode on iPhone and iPad works with supported applications and websites.

Once an application updates for iOS 13 and supports this feature, it will automatically switch from the application theme to the dark theme when you turn on the dark system mode from the Control Center.

Here, for example, is the LookUp Dictionary app. In the left screen capture, the application is in the default lighting mode. And on the right, you can see what the app looks like in dark mode.

Comparison of the LookUp dictionary application in light mode and in dark mode under iOS 13

All I did between these two screenshots was to go to the Control Center and turn on the dark mode. Once applications support this feature, you no longer need to find the dark mode feature in individual applications.

The same goes for Safari. If a website supports the dark mode feature in CSS, it will automatically switch between light and dark themes based on system settings.

In the screenshot below, you can see the feature in action for the Twitter site in Safari.

Screen capture showing Twitter in Light mode and Dark mode based on an automatic switching in iOS 13

Currently, there is no way to put apps on this blacklist from this automatic theme change feature.

But for websites, you can turn off the feature by going to Settings> Safari> Advanced> Experimental Features and disabling the "Dark Mode CSS Support" option.

Alternative to dark mode: Smart Invert

The dark auto mode only works with applications that support the feature in iOS 13, iPadOS 13 and later. What if you want to enable dark mode in an application that does not support it? Use the Smart invert functionality as a workaround.

Smart invert is an accessibility feature that automatically reverses the colors of the user interface without affecting images or other media. With this workaround, you can get a decent white-text-on-black-background interface.

To turn it on, go to Settings> Accessibility> Text Display and Size, then switch to "Conversely Smart".

Enable Smart Invert feature on iPhone

You can see the difference between a website in light mode and with smart invert enabled in the screen shots below. Although most websites are inverting properly, some areas, such as the menu bar in the example below, do not seem to be what they should be.

A comparison of How-to Geek article in light mode and with Smart Invert feature enabled

True, the Smart Reversing feature does not work for everything, but it's a good alternative. If a developer does not add dark mode to their applications, it works (a bit).

RELATED, RELATED, RELATED: How to invert the colors of your iPhone screen

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