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This Android Q dark mode bug proves it's not quite ready for prime time

The regular dark theme works just fine, but the all-over dark theme has some problems.

Published onMay 28, 2019

android q beta 3 dark theme quick settings google pixel 2 xl

We know for certain that Android Q will come with a native dark mode, the first time the OS has had such a theme built right in. We also know that the current third beta of Android Q has a special “override” theme that makes everything dark. We covered that here.

Now, as first spotted by Android Police, we have a weird hybrid dark mode that appears to be a bug. The hybrid mode brings in dark elements from both the normal and the override themes, which creates something that can look a bit wonky.

To understand what’s happening here, you first need to know about the override theme. By switching a toggle in developer options, you can force Android to turn pretty much anything white into black, including in third-party applications. Depending on the app (or the Android feature), this can look great or look silly.

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android q beta 3 dark theme quick settings google pixel 2 xl

However, if you toggle this override theme on or off without first toggling the native dark theme in Android Q’s settings, it can cause weird results.

Check out the screenshots below to see what’s happening. The far left is the normal theme on the Google Pixel 2 XL; second from the left is the normal dark theme; second from the right is the all-dark override theme; the far right is the strange “hybrid” theme that mixes elements.

It’s hard to tell the difference between the dark theme and the override theme, but if you look at the icon in the card under the weather widget, you can see the white background is turned black.

It’s easy to tell the difference with the hybrid theme, though, which looks pretty terrible.

Now, take a look at the notification shade with each theme turned on. Be sure to also pay attention to the Google bar on the home screen, which is obscured by the shade.

There is definitely a distinct difference between the native dark theme and the override theme, namely the Google bar on the home screen. However, the quick settings tiles in the hybrid theme are borrowed from the default theme, not the dark/override themes.

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What does this all mean? Essentially, it means that we should expect the override theme within developer options to stay there. Unless Google is working around the clock to get the override theme to work the way one would expect — i.e., it looks right when you turn it on and it looks right when you turn it off — it’s very likely the stable version of Android Q will only ship with the traditional dark mode within Android settings.

Of course, it is possible Google is working to make the override theme something that could appear in Android settings proper. With the fourth Android Q beta just around the corner, we’ll have a better idea soon.

NEXT: Android Q desktop mode looks incredible in this early demo

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