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How to enable Dark Mode on your Mac

MacOS Mojave Dark Mode

macOS Mojave 10.14 brought out system-wide support for a fully functional Dark Mode, a super handy feature that creates a distraction-free working environment on your Mac that’s not just easy on the eyes, but ensures your own content like photos is front and center.

With Light and Dark Mode, Mac customers at long last have a choice between two distinct looks that bring appropriate styling to the critical parts of the Mac user interface.

A dramatic new look

OS X Yosemite brought limited dark styling to the Dock, the menu bar and Spotlight Search.

Replacing that old and functionally very limited Yosemite feature, Dark Mode in Mojave helps you focus on your work by turning the user interface dark, including your desktop wallpaper.

As a result, your own content, such as photos and documents, really pops out in Dark Mode.

The Finder in Dark Mode on macOS Mojave

Dark Mode and Dynamic Desktop complement each other

If you tend to do a lot of work on your computer late at night or in a dark room, the new Dark Mode in macOS Mojave can definitely make using your computer a bit easier on the eyes.

To see the stark difference between the familiar Light appearance of your Mac and the new Dark Mode in Mojave for yourself, scroll to the Dark Mode section of Apple’s official macOS Mojave Preview page and drag the interactive slider.

macOS Mojave preview page with the slider allowing for a visual comparison between the standard Light user interface styling and the new Dark Mode

The Dark Mode theme can be found in the newly-announced Apple News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos apps, plus other system apps including Calendar, Finder, Mail and Photos.

The Apple News app shown running in the new Dark Mode on macOS Mojave

The Apple News app shown running in macOS Mojave’s new Dark Mode

We have put together a nice screenshot gallery for those of you who are curious to check out the new darkened color scheme and styling in Apple’s own Mac apps, including Calendar, Finder, iTunes, Mail, Photos, Stocks, Home, News, Voice Memos and more.

The Apple Photos app shown running in Dark Mode on macOS Mojave

Not all apps look good with a darkened appearance. For instance, newly created documents in TextEdit with their default white background look somewhat out of place. My biggest concern was that not all websites were going to look good with a dark hue, but then I realized that Safari’s Reader Mode with a black background solves this issue in one fell swoop.

And this is how Apple describes Dark Mode:

macOS Mojave users can switch to Dark Mode to transform their desktop to a darkened color scheme, putting the focus on user content while controls recede into the background. Users can toggle between a light and dark desktop, and built-in Mac apps like Mail, Messages, Maps, Calendar and Photos all include Dark Mode designs.

Here’s how you can switch on Dark Mode on your Mac with just a few clicks.

How to enable Dark Mode on your Mac

Do the following to have your Mac use a darker appearance.

1) Open System Preferences on your Mac.

2) Click on the icon labeled General.

3) Click the right image next to Appearance to switch on Dark Mode.

The General section of System Preferences lets you switch on Dark Mode in macOS Mojave

Conversely, you can switch back to the default Light appearance by clicking the left image.

This new mode replaces Yosemite’s dark styling option that only worked with the Dock, Spotlight Search and the menu bar. In other words, you can no longer work in the default Light mode while having the Dock and the menu bar rendered with a darker color scheme.

Now it’s either Light Mode or Dark Mode.

Dark Mode and Dynamic Desktop

Starting with macOS Mojave, Mac customers can take advantage of an awesome feature that plugs nicely into Dark Mode, called Dynamic Desktop. It automatically changes your desktop picture to match the time of day, as determined by Location Services on your Mac.

TUTORIAL:How to use Nigh Shift for Mac

Found in System Preferences → Desktop & Screen Saver, an all-new dynamic wallpaper in macOS Mojave gradually changes the look of your desktop over the course of the day.

A screenshot showing a section of Apple's macOS Mojave preview page that explains the new Dynamic Desktop feature

You can see this new time-shifting wallpaper in action on the macOS Mojave Preview webpage: scroll to the Dynamic Desktop section, then drag the slider left or right to see the effect.

Dark Mode in your favorite apps

Dark Mode works with built-in apps that come with your Mac.

Third-party apps can implement Dark Mode by taking advantage of Apple’s APIs designed to help developers adopt Dark Mode designs. If your favorite app won’t switch to a darkened color scheme after you have enabled Dark Mode, you will need to contact its developer and demand that they support Dark Mode using Apple’s AppKit framework.

System Preferences using Dark Mode in macOS Mojave

Most Mac apps will at some point support both Light and Dark appearances.

But until they do, some folks may find it annoying to go back and forth between Apple’s apps that include Dark Mode support and third-party titles that remain in the default Light mode.

Are you liking Dark Mode?

What are your early thoughts on the new Dark Mode in macOS Mojave?

Is this awesome new look something you might be using on a daily basis, do you think? Will you be sticking with the lighter style, perhaps?

Let us know down in the comments!

Need help? Ask iDB!

If you like this how-to, pass it along to your support folks and leave a comment below.

Got stuck? Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device? Let us know via [email protected] and a future tutorial might provide a solution.

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