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Hell freezes over: built-in dark mode finally coming to Android (Update: nope)

It doesn't look like we're getting native night mode in Android anytime soon.

Published onFebruary 24, 2018


Update (02/24): Google added a post in the Issue Tracker stating there was a miscommunication with the team that handles AOSP issues. It doesn’t look like we’re getting native night mode in Android anytime soon.

However, Google is adding a toggle in Developer Mode that will allow developers to create and test apps that implement night mode. You can find the full post below:

Hi folks, you may remember me from the last three releases where it looked like Dark Mode was being added. Unfortunately, this bug was closed prematurely due to a miscommunication with the team that handles AOSP issues.
What we *have* added in a future Android release is a developer-facing setting (via Developer Options) to toggle the -night UI mode qualifier, which will make it easier for developers to create and test apps that implement night mode. This qualifier has been in the platform since Froyo (SDK 8) and globally modifiable via UiModeManager since Marshmallow (SDK 23); however, there was never an explicit toggle made available anywhere in Settings.
If it’s any consolation, we will also not be adding Hot Dog Mode (where all UI elements are yellow and red).

Original article (02/23): Dark mode is one of the most popular features Android doesn’t have. There are apps that do it, there are custom ROMs that bake it into Android’s code, and even OEM skinned versions of Android make it a standard feature (and then take it away). But the one place you won’t find a dark/night mode is in stock Android itself.

That will change in a future version of the operating system, confirmed by the Google Issue Tracker. A developer marked the feature request for a dark mode as “fixed” and “will be available in a future Android release.”

Does that mean that Android 9.0 P, the next version of Android will get the feature? Possibly. Until Google makes an official announcement on the matter, we can only speculate. However, the news that a dark mode will come baked right into the operating system is surely good news.

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What’s interesting about Google and dark modes is that the custom launcher available on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL featured an automatic dark theme, dependent on the phone’s wallpaper. Later, Google made the feature available to all devices running Android 8.1 Oreo. Why did it take so long for Google to understand that this is one of the most requested Android features?

Since all we have to go on is Google Issue Tracker’s note that a dark mode feature will show up in a future Android version, we have no idea if the future dark mode will be the same or similar to the one initially available on the Pixel 2, or be something more akin to what custom ROMs offer. In many Android ROMs, a “full” dark mode is given as a choice in the system settings that changes almost everything on the device to a white text/black background scheme.

With this being Android’s first step into dark mode, it probably won’t be that drastic. But get excited, dark mode enthusiasts: you’re about to have one less app on your stock device.

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