Should Dark Mode Be A System Wide Feature?

With Windows 10 and macOS bringing in a dark mode to the system apps there are only third party apps that are left with light appearance. It’s almost the same with Android and on iOS it’s quite limited with the only option to enable system-wide color inversion which sometimes leads to bad results.

Why do people use the dark mode? It makes it easier on the eyes if you use your device in the dark. If you do a lot of reading or any other type of work in your favorite application with the color scheme set up it’s always frustrating to switch to another application that will make a visual explosion of a light scheme hurt your eyes. There are two ways of avoiding that: working with the lights on or using a system-wide dark mode.

Dark Mode in the Reddit app

Third Party Apps

Currently adding a dark mode to an app requires developer to spend some time implementing the feature. Making a proper design could be challenging and the coding might take some time depending on how the app was made.

There are ways to use system theme in some operating systems but it’s rarely used due to branding and design reasons. You want your app to stand out visually and use your brand colors.

Reverting colors on the Facebook app hurts brand recognition

If there was a good way of using system-wide theme and not hurting the brand recognition there would still be issues. A lot of development would need to be done for legacy applications to utilize new API’s. And even with that out of the way there would still be one big issue. All the websites in the internet.

With all that said, the system-wide dark mode is not happening. It’s too much work for a niche feature.


So, what can you do? As a user you could use features like iOS’ inverse colors (Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Display Accomodations -> Invert Colors) which does make some apps look good. It will invert colors in a smart way so it won’t invert images. Except sometimes it will (my guess is it depends on what type of component the app uses to render images). The good part is that it will also invert the colors in the browser. So all the websites are now in the dark mode. Yay!

Some apps look good with inverted colors

Except for the things that already use the dark color scheme. It will make them light.

Another option is to forget about the dark mode and use your device with the lights on.

As a developer you might consider going with the dark color scheme first (Netflix-style) if that suits your brand and you care about the dark mode. That will remove the need to make two different color schemes and will save you some time.