Battery saving, visual comfort... All about the dark mode of your devices

Battery saving, visual comfort… All about the dark mode of your devices

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You’ve heard of “dark mode”, but you don’t know what it is. Or maybe you don’t know how to enable it on your device? Don’t panic, here’s everything you need to know about dark mode.

You have surely seen it appear on websites, in the menus of your phone or even in certain applications that you use every day… Dark mode is now an integral part of our digital lives. But concretely, what is this new option that abounds on the Web for? Why are all the sites suddenly starting to offer it? And how is it possible to take advantage of it?

Today, we tell you all about this discreet feature, which can improve your browsing experience on smartphones, tablets or computers.

What is dark mode?

Unsurprisingly, the dark mode (or “dark mode”, as the Anglo-Saxons call it) has its Wikipedia page which describes the phenomenon quite well. “dark mode […] is a choice of color (or theme) applied to icons, texts and human-machine interfaces displayed on a dark background of a website or an operating system.“To put it more simply, it’s the act of switching the user interfaces (usually designed on a white background) of a website or an application to a darker color palette, or downright black.

Be careful not to confuse it with the “night mode” offered by some PCs and some phones. This option has the effect of yellowing the screen in order to reduce the user’s exposure to blue lights. Dark mode is also not a simple transition to “negative” of a website in light mode, since it often requires reworking logos, buttons and the menu to offer the most comfortable and ergonomic navigation possible. . A successful dark mode therefore requires that each development team behind each website or application rethink, to a greater or lesser degree, the interface of its service. That’s why you don’t necessarily see the option anywhere on the web. Behind this slight aesthetic change are problems of ergonomics and readability.

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What is dark mode for?

The easy answer to this question is “to offer more choice”. It happens that Internet users prefer darker interfaces for reasons of reading comfort. The dazzling white of Google’s homepage, for example, is not necessarily suitable for surfing sessions on a smartphone from the bottom of your bed in the dark. But dark mode also has a more technical advantage: it allows, in some cases, to save energy and therefore the battery of his phone or tablet.

Oled screens, which have now become widely available on our phones, TVs and game consoles, have the advantage of not consuming anything when the screen is black. Unlike IPS screens which need a constant backlight from the panel, the OLED can turn off some of its pixels individually. As a result, displaying a black screen consumes almost nothing, since no backlight mechanism is required.

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If your smartphone (or your tablet, or your PC) has an OLED screen, activating dark mode turns off certain parts of the screen and therefore saves battery power. However, this only applies to “true” dark modes with a black background. Many applications or websites opt for a blue gradient as a dark mode. The latter therefore offer no advantage in terms of energy consumption (since each pixel is on), but offer those who want it better reading comfort.

True Dark Modes can also be suitable for certain accessibility issues thanks to the more pronounced contrast. Less white background, it’s also less blue lights.

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These technical explanations are all well and good, but in reality, how can you take advantage of dark mode on your phone or tablet? The two majority mobile OSes, Android and iOS, each offer an option to switch all or part of their interfaces to dark mode.

On Android

If you use Google’s OS and want to activate dark mode, it’s simple:

  • Meet in your Settings app,
  • Find the menu Display Where Display and Brightness,
  • You should find an option to toggle dark mode.

Android dark mode illustration

How to activate dark mode on Android

© Corentin Bechade

Your phone may even offer advanced options for dark mode such as activating from a certain time or adjusting contrasts in the interface.

On iOS

On Apple’s mobile system, activating dark mode is done in a few clicks:

  • Meet in the app Settings,
  • Choose Brightness and display,
  • Switch from light mode to dark mode with the option at the top of the page.

iOS dark mode artwork

The procedure to follow to activate the dark mode on an iPad or iPhone

© Corentin Bechade

The “Automatic” option below automatically switches from light mode to dark mode depending on the time of day or a custom schedule.

Dark mode is also available on computers. Here’s how to activate it:

On Windows 10/11

  • Open the app Settings,
  • Choose the submenu Personalization,
  • Go to the tab Colors,
  • At option level Choose your color (or Windows Mode/App Mode on Windows 11) choose Dark.

Windows dark mode illustration

How to activate dark mode on Windows

© Corentin Bechade

On macOS

  • Open the apple menu on the top corner left,
  • Choose System Preferences,
  • Click on General,
  • In the section Appearance Mode choose Dark.

macOS dark mode illustration

The procedure to follow to activate the dark mode on a macOS

© Apple

The automatic option allows the colors of the interface to change according to the time of day.

What about apps and websites?

Switching the interface of your OS to dark mode is good, switching your entire ecosystem to dark mode is even better! Many websites and applications today have a dark mode that everyone can use.

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Technically, controls at the operating system level (whether on mobile or desktop) instruct your apps to also adopt dark mode (if they have it). The same goes for some websites. Unfortunately, not all software and sites automatically detect your settings. In this case, you will have to browse through the settings of each to check for the presence of a dark mode and activate it if necessary. You can also switch certain applications to dark mode, while keeping your OS in light mode.

Unfortunately, there is no universal way to activate dark mode. On Chrome, you have to go to Settings then Appearance Where Themes. On Twitter, you have to click on the light bulb in the side menu or on More and posting on the web. On TikTok, the option is located in the tab Profile then in the menu Settings and Privacy tucked away in the sidebar. On the websites, it is very variable.

In short, you will understand, no application or website uses the same interfaces to provide access to dark mode. But once the option is adopted, your favorite applications and sites should remember it.

Long surf sessions in the middle of the night are yours without perforating your retina.

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