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Update: How to enable the hidden dark mode in Android Q

You can't easily toggle dark mode in Android Q, but there's a workaround. Here's how.

Published onMarch 14, 2019

Android Q developer preview - Dark Theme

Update, March 14, 07:25AM ET: Here’s how you can enable dark theme on Android Q developer preview beta.

Quick shortcut

A quick way to enable a system-wide dark theme on Android Q developer preview is by turning on Battery Saver in Quick Settings. It works well, but keeping the battery saver enabled all the time will probably delay your notifications and affect some app features.

Using Android SDK

The good folks at XDA Developers have found a way to enable the dark theme via ADB. The Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is a client-server program part of Android SDK and used in Android application development. Before you proceed, you can check a tutorial about using ADB from your PC here.

  1. Connect your Pixel device with your computer, and open the Command Prompt or Terminal window in the same directory where you stored the ADB binary.
  2. Enter the following command:
    • Enable: adb shell settings put secure ui_night_mode 2
    • Disable: adb shell settings put secure ui_night_mode 1
  3. Note that if you’re using Windows PowerShell, then you may need to add a .\ before the command and if you’re using macOS or Linux, then you may need to add a ./ before the command.
  4. Reboot your Pixel and the system-wide dark mode will be toggled.

Original post, March 13, 05:50PM ET: As we delve deeper into the first beta of Android Q, we’re finding some surprises (as well as lack of surprises). One surprise we’ve found is that this first Android Q beta doesn’t have night mode anymore — even though all rumors pointed to Android Q having a system-wide dark theme.

With this first beta of Android Q, if you go into the settings panel as well as developer options, you won’t find any night mode or dark theme settings. However, night mode is still there — it will automatically turn on if you have a dark wallpaper and you previously had night mode toggled on when you were on Android 9 Pie.

However, if you do a completely fresh install of this Android Q beta, you will have no access to night mode, a dark theme, or anything of the sort.

Android Q shows notches in screenshots (Update: Not anymore)
Sample Shot on Nikon D610

While it is certainly concerning that this feature is missing — considering how passionate Android users are about dark themes and Google’s own admission to their battery-saving benefits — we shouldn’t panic yet. The fact that night mode still works in Android Q (even if you can’t control it) and the fact that leaked builds of Android Q had a full on system-wide dark theme are both good signs.

In fact, Google plans on releasing a total of six Android Q betas, so there’s plenty of time for Google to put in a proper dark theme before Android Q goes stable.

It should also be mentioned that the app-specific dark themes in Google Contacts, Google News, YouTube, etc., are all still active in Android Q.

NEXT: Android Q supports different accent colors

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