Pixel Launcher

  • Google quietly hinted that the Pixel Launcher will let you toggle between light and dark themes.
  • The toggle will arrive as a software update, though Google did not say when the update will be available.
  • The Pixel Launcher is exclusive to Pixel phones, though you can download unofficial ports.


Even though the Pixel Launcher features a dark theme, you do not control when it turns on. That will eventually change, though how Android Police learned about it is a story unto itself.

Currently, whether the Pixel Launcher uses a light or dark theme depends on the wallpaper you use. If the wallpaper features either neutral or light elements, then the Pixel Launcher uses a light theme. If you use a wallpaper with predominantly dark elements, the Pixel Launcher uses a dark theme.

The methodology makes sense, but that did not stop a few people from wanting control over whether to enable a light or dark theme. Someone added the “issue” to the Android P developer preview’s issue racker in March, and it did not take very long for a Google employee to respond.

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Fast forward three months, and another Google employee confirmed that the Pixel Launcher will feature a theme toggle. In a future software update, the toggle will be in Settings -> Display -> Device Theme. That update could arrive either as another developer preview or whenever Android P officially rolls out.

This would not be the system-wide dark theme that Android fans continue to ask for. That means that, while the quick settings and app drawer areas would be dark, the settings menu would retain a white background.

It also sounds like the theme toggle will be optional and you can still let the Pixel Launcher make the decision for you.

Either way, here is hoping that a system-wide dark theme is not too far behind.