How will Dark Mode work on iOS 13?
By Linky Johnson 2019-04-25 2025 0
Apple already uses dark motifs in some places. The Apple Watch features a dark design that depends heavily on real shades of black, causing the OLED panel's screen elements to adapt seamlessly to the edge of the watch case. Apple TV has a dark appearance that primarily changes the look of the home screen and some apps. This can be switched with Siri, via the Settings app or automatically based on local sunset and sunrise times.
With MacOS Mojave, Apple brought Dark Mode to the Mac last year. Dark Mode on the Mac is a system-wide appearance option that changes the look and feel of Apple's apps and allows third-party apps to participate. Websites with dark themes can even respond to dark fashion on the Mac as part of Safari 12.1 in macOS 10.14.4 beta.
MacOS lets you switch between bright and dark mode via the system settings app. However, there is no planning based on time of day, local sunset and sunrise times or ambient brightness. You need an app like NightOwl if you want to better control dark mode on your Mac. The differences between appearances on Apple TV and Mac are strange (and hopefully fixed in a future update).
With no system-wide dark mode feature yet on iOS, each iPhone and iPad app has its own method of managing modes – if a dark design is available at all.
Apple Books offers a variety of themed options designed to improve reading, including white, sepia, gray and black themes. You can leave the black theme full time or activate it optionally only with the Auto-Night theme option.
The night theme in Apple Books is black on OLED iPhones (X, XS, XS Max), so the black elements don't like the screen at all, just the non-black elements.
This also applies to other parts of the Apple Books app, including the Current Play screen for audiobooks in Apple Books. Apple Books, however, is currently an outlier among Apple's own iOS apps (it also has a really nice Now playing screen that the apps don't offer for music and podcasts). Hopefully it's also a sign of how iOS 13 might work with Dark Mode.
Apple avoids real black elements on the Mac, instead banking on dark, translucent greys to avoid too much contrast and blend floating windows. Today, no Mac with an OLED panel is delivered.
Dark designs for iOS apps often include both real black and dark grey options. For some people, dark grey motifs are more readable. OLED panels can create too wobbly an effect if black content is not traversed too quickly, and many iOS devices still use LCD panels.
Apple could use real black on the iPhone X, XS and XS Max, relying on dark grey appearances on iPads and all other iPhones. Apple could include a dark versus a black preference like we see in third-party apps today, though this seems less likely. A single dark mode, where real black and dark grey elements are mixed, is likely to be more likely.
Finally, I'm curious to see how apps that already use a dark theme respond to changes between light and dark mode. The iTunes tabs "Activity," "View," "Shares," "Followers" and "Movies" and "Television Says" already use dark topics. Could these switch to light mode if iOS stops a system-wide switch?
Ultimately, users would appreciate the option to switch between light and dark mode, and they would also have the option of locking certain apps in both forms. Apple is currently adding this option on an app basis on the Mac, most recently Xcode Beta.
In any case, Dark Mode on iOS 13 is likely to go down well when it is shipped! Dark Mode has long been a coveted feature for night readers and fans of dark topics.
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