Bring on the Darkness

Dark Mode on the iPhone: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?


June 4, 2019 Tech By

At WWDC 2019, Apple announced that when it rolls out iOS 13 to iPhones this fall, one of the most exciting new features will be Dark mode. Like the Dark mode that Apple introduced to Macs last year, with MacOS Mojave, Dark mode on iPhone will invert the color scheme of your iPhone and transform the normally light background and black text on your iPhone to a dark background with white text.

Dark mode is effectively an aesthetic change and a big part of the appeal is that it looks cool. However, Dark mode is also designed to give iPhone users a better experience in low-light environments, especially at night; the normally bright color scheme on your iPhone can be harsh on eyes and even hurt your chances of getting a night’s sleep.

Up to this point, developers, coders, graphic designers and other creatives who work late into the night have been known to prefer Dark mode, especially when using a Mac. But the exact same logic applies to you when you are checking your notifications before bed. When Dark mode rolls out, users will also have the option to schedule Dark mode to turn on/off at certain hours.

When Dark mode becomes available, it could potentially have another beneficial effect on your iPhone: better battery life. The newest iPhones all have OLED displays, which have great color contrast and are able to produce true blacks by turning off lighting for specific pixels. This means that if you switch to Dark mode, your iPhone will have to power less of the display and thus could save battery life. It’s hard to know exactly how much this could help your iPhone’s battery, but it could only help.

Will all iOS apps work with Dark mode?

No. Apple says that Dark mode will work “across all native apps.” This means popular apps like Safari, Mail, Messages, Calendar, Photos, Notes and Maps will also support Dark mode. However, Apple announced a list of 16 third-party apps that will also support Dark mode:

• Wikipedia
• Feedly
• Overcast
• Reeder 3
• Bear
• Instapaper
• Halide Camera
• Anybuffer
• Fiery Feeds: RSS Reader
• Grocery
• Speedtest by Ookla
• Just Press Record
• Twitterrific
• Polarr Photo Editor
• Drafts 5
• Calzy 3
• Apollo for Reddit
• GoodTask 3: To Do List

Will all iPads support Dark mode?

Yes. In another big announcement from this year’s WWDC, Apple announced that all iPads will no longer run iOS like iPhones, but instead work on their own operating system called iPadOS. It makes sense given that iPads and iPhones are used for different purposes and their different form factors lend them to needing different features and controls. However, iPadOS and the iOS 13 won’t be that much different from what we’re already used to, and many of the best new iOS 13 features will also be incorporated into iPadOS, including Dark mode.

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