To brighten your day: Night Mode elements uncovered in Android 6.0

by: Matthew BensonOctober 6, 2015

The Dark color theme (seen here, from Android M’s first Developer Preview) was a very cool addition that was sadly removed later.

Although Android 4.0 made use of a dark color scheme to handle menus and settings, 5.0 saw a complete visual overhaul that extended to the color pallet as well: everything became bright white. Personal preferences aside, the new coat of paint irked more than a few users, but especially those with an AMOLED-packing device. Earlier this year when Google launched the Developer Preview of Android M, some eagle-eyed users were quick to spot a new option: Hidden away in the Developer Options settings tab was the ability to select either a Light or Dark theme for the OS skin.

Unfortunately, as the Developer Preview builds are ultimately a work-in-progress,  the feature was eventually cut, and remains absent from the “RTM” build. Enter Hernán Castañón, who was taking a peek at the source code for Marshmallow and has discovered references to a “night mode”:

Android-6.0-Marshmallow-Night-Mode Hernán Castañón

At the moment it’s impossible to know just what will become of this finding, if anything at all. Google could be planning to formally introduce the feature in a future update (say, Android 6.1 perhaps) or it could be just extra code. Still, much like the “hidden” multi-tasking it’s possible that at the very least some talented people might be able to work their magic and bring on the darkness.

The idea of a night mode that would allow the OS to intelligently change the color theme depending on the time of day would definitely be a major plus for anyone who has ever tried using their phone in the middle of the night and be bathed in glowing white light. And it looks cool to boot.

Should Google have included a Dark Theme option with Android, much like it offers on the stock Android keyboard? Leave us your thoughts below.

  • TDN

    I would use the dark theme constantly, not just at night.

  • FlutterRage

    RRO in stock Marshmallow works really well. Google should just implement a native Theme store.

  • Chauntella Stephanie Brown

    No, I don’t like dark themes.

    • yardie

      I do

      • Hernán Castañón

        Me too!

  • Haik

    I’d use the dark theme if I were to have an amold screen or in case of IPS display as a night mode, all in all it’s a useful feature.

  • Tony G.

    Choice. Give us choice. Don’t tell us what to like and what we should use Google.

  • Badouken

    If It worked like google maps where it would sense how bright it is and change accordingly I think that would be pretty sweet.

  • neonix

    I’ve been saying this for a while: they really ought to to embed a simple theme selection tool into Android settings.

    Just let the user select light or dark base theme (or automatic day/night mode) and select their favorite color that will be used as an accent instead of the teal and green colors.

  • DNagooyen

    Would love a theming option and I would definitely use the dark theme at night. Even better if it could smartly switch depending on the time or ambient light.

  • Chris

    Also if you hold down the settings icon in the pull down quick settings menu it enables the extra UI tweak tab in settings (near developer options). In this sub menu there is the option to rearrange tile in the quick settings pull down tiles. It show a tile listed as Invert colors although I see no way to use it now. Is it possible that this is dark theme option to be enabled later

    • Hernán Castañón

      Seems the code is some kind of blocked. I´ve managed to get Dark Theme working but it needs a few modifications that probably Google will not add until Android N, but almost all ROMs will have it accesible via QuickSettings.

      • Chris

        Can you give me some guidance on how to do this mod.

  • Yes, they finally made it so dark mode is not 100% dark. I can actually use it now.