3 Ways You Can Enable Dark Mode on Mac

3 Quick Ways How You Can Enable Dark Mode on Mac

Dark Mode, also knows as Black Mode, Dark Theme, Light-On-Dark, or Night Mode is your device's interface setting that turns the default white background to black. The content color scheme is also changed from dark to light. You can use dark mode for your device or third-party apps as well. Apple added the Dark Mode feature to their Macs with the Mojave operating system.

Dark Mode is not a new feature. Originally, computers used monochrome CTR monitors, which displayed a bright greenish or amber color text on a black screen. The text color depended on how much phosphor (a substance that emits light when exposed to some type of radiant energy, in this case, a radiant beam in a cathode ray tube) was applied on a screen. Initially, computers did not have much choice for an interface due to the capacity of the cathode ray tubes that were used back then. Later on, the interface gradually started to resemble white paper with black text as people were used to writing on a white piece of paper with a dark pen. The dark-on-light color scheme was introduced in WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) word processors. The WYSIWYG was an editing software that allowed users to see content how it would appear when it got printed or put on a web page, slide presentation, and such. Not long ago, the light-on-dark color scheme came back as an additional feature for your device.

3 Ways You Can Enable Dark Mode on Mac

Dark Mode's main purpose is to reduce the light emitted from your Mac or any other device screen while keeping great content readability and allowing you to have a pleasant user experience. The feature also has additional perks. Using Dark Mode on devices with OLED or AMOLED displays will reduce energy consumption. On such screens, the display panel has tiny individual pixels, and most of them are lit fully when the background is light. When you enable Dark Mode, most of the background is dark, so the whole display, in general, requires less power to stay lit. It is said that Dark Mode can also minimize blue light exposure and reduces eye strain in dim light conditions.

Although Dark Mode is a great feature and more and more users are starting to use it, it also has some disadvantages in certain environments. Overall, we are used to reading on a light background, and while using Dark Mode in a low lit room can reduce eye fatigue, using the feature all the time, including in a brightly lit environment, can increase strain on your eyes. You might have a hard time focusing your eyes on the text as it can seem blurry. You will also have a hard time reading long pieces of text.

The Dark Mode feature can be a great tool if used wisely. Below you will find information on how you can turn on Dark Mode as well as how you can automatically switch Light and Dark modes according to your light conditions.

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Turn On Dark Mode From Control Center

Fortunately for users with Macs running on macOS BigSur, you can now enable or disable dark mode much faster anytime you want.

To turn on dark mode from Control Center, follow the steps below:

1. In the top right corner of your screen, locate the "Control Center" icon and click on it.
2. When the menu appears, click on "Display".

Expand Display settings

3. Then, display preferences will appear, and you will see features like "Dark Mode" and "Night Shift".
4. Click on "Dark Mode" to enable dark mode on your Mac.

Enable Dark Mode

To turn off Dark Mode, just go to the Display preferences from Control Center again and click on "Dark Mode" again.

You will notice immediately when your Macs interface will change to dark mode.

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Add Display Preferences to the Menu Bar

You can add display preferences to the menu bar for even quicker access to "Dark" mode. It will allow you to switch from "Dark" to "Light" modes with only two clicks of your mouse. Unfortunately, this feature is only available for macOS BigSur.

To add display preferences to the menu bar, follow the steps below:

1. In the top right corner of your screen, locate the "Control center" icon and click on it.
2. When the menu appears, locate the "Display" feature.
3. Then, drag it to the menu bar. Mac frame like icon will appear and will stay there permanently.

To turn on Dark Mode, click on the icon, and when the menu pops up, click on the "Dark Mode" button.

Enable Dark Mode

If you want to remove or change the position of the icon on the menu bar, press the Command key on your keyboard and drag the icon where you want to on the menu bar. To remove it from the menu bar, just drag it to the Desktop and let go.

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Turn On Dark Mode From System Preferences

If you have an older operating system, then like macOS Catalina or Mojave, you can access dark mode from "System Preferences".  This method applies to macOS Big Sur as well.

To turn on dark mode from System Preferences in macOS Mojave and Catalina, follow the steps below:

1. In the upper menu, click on the Apple logo.
2. When the secondary menu appears, click on "System Preferences".
3. When the preferences window pops up, go to "General".

Go to General Settings

4. In the general settings window, next to the word "Appearance", you will see two options: "Dark" and "Light".
5. Click on "Dark" to enable Dark Mode.

Click on Dark

If your Mac runs on macOS Catalina or later, you will also see an option called "Auto". If you choose the "Auto" feature, the Dark Mode will be turned on automatically depending on the time of the day. It will automatically enable the feature in the evening, and in the morning, it will change to Light Mode mode.

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Enable And Control Dark Mode With NightOwl

NightOwl is a third party utility for macOS Mojave and newer. With it, you can set to enable dark mode at a specific time, quickly switch from Dark Mode to Light Mode from the menu bar. You can also choose to disable Dark Mode in certain apps. The application is free to use, and you can download it from the official website.

NightOwl interface is quite simple. To turn on dark mode using NightOwl, follow the steps below:

1. Download the NightOwl app.
2. When you open the app, an owl icon will appear in the menu bar's upper right corner. By holding the Command key on your keyboard you can rearrange the icon on the menu bar.
2. Click on the icon. A menu will appear.
3. At the top of the menu window, you will see "Light" and "Dark" buttons. Click on the "Dark" button to turn on Dark Mode.

Turn on Dark Mode using NightOwl

If you want your interface to switch from Light Mode To Drak Mode and vice versa automatically, depending on whether it is day or night, check the box next to "Sunrise/Sunset".

You can also schedule a time when you want the Dark Mode to be turned on. The same goes for Light Mode. To do that, check the box next to "Schedule", and next to each mode, click on the drop-down menu to select a time you want them enabled.

Schedule Dark Mode

Under "Always stay light", you will have the option to choose some feature to stay in Light Mode even when Dark Mode is enabled.

By clicking the gear icon at the bottom right corner of the menu window, you will see options to "Run on Boot", "Check for Updates", and more. If you decide you want to remove NightOwl from the menu bar, click on the gear icon, and at the bottom, click on "Quit", or you can press and hold the Command key on your keyboard and drag the icon to the Desktop.

NightOwl is a handy tool if you like to switch from Light and Dark modes, and your Mac's operating system is older than macOS BigSur.

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How Dark Mode Works With System Features And Apps

Some built-in apps and features have their own special Dark Mode settings.

Mail

When you have Dark Mode on, you can keep the light background for email messages.

To change background only for email messages, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Mail app from Launchpad, Finder, or Spotlight.
2. Then, in the upper menu, click on "Mail".
3. When the secondary menu appears, click on "Preferences" to open Mail app settings.
4. When the preferences window pops up, go to the "Viewing" tab and uncheck the box next to "Use dark background for messages" if you want a light theme.

Disable Dark Mode on Mail app

If you want to keep the background dark, check the box. This option is only visible when Drak Mode is turned on.

Maps

If, for example, you enable Dark Mode for all apps, you can change the Maps interface to Light Mode separately.

To change the Maps app interface theme, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Maps app from Launchpad, Finder, or Spotlight.
2. Then, in the upper menu, click on "Maps", and go to "Preferences".
3. In the "General" tab, check the box next to "Always use light map appearance".

Disable Dark Mode on Maps app

Now, your Map will stay in Light Mode until you decide to disable the feature.

Notes

If you are used to writing your notes on the white background, you can reverse the Dark Mode with few quick clicks.

To set Light Mode in the Notes app, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Notes app from Launchpad, Finder, or Spotlight.
2. In the upper menu, click on "Notes".
3. Then, go to "Preferences".
4. In the Notes settings window, uncheck the box next to "Use dark background for note content".

Disable Dark Mode on Notes app

Simple as that.

Safari Browser

When you enable the Dark Mode, your Safari browser automatically displays webpages in Dark Mode as well. Keep in mind that pages will be in Dar Mode only if they are designed to support it.

With the "Reader" feature, you can choose to keep Dark Mode for all available websites or disable it for all of them. Also, you can disable Dar Mode for specific pages.

To turn on or off Dark Mode for all websites, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Safari browser from Launchpad, Finder, or Spotlight.
2. In the upper menu, click on "Safari".
3. Then, click on "Preferences" to open Safari preferences.
4. When a window appears, go to the "Websites" tab.
5. Then, in the left sidebar, select "Reader".

Go to Reader

6. In the bottom right corner, next to "When visiting other websites",  click on the drop-down menu and select "On" to enable dark mode on all available websites.

Enable Dark Mode on all Safari websites

7. Choose the option "Off" if you do not want to browse in Dark Mode.

To turn on or off Dark Mode for a specific website, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Safari browser from Launchpad, Finder, or Spotlight.
2. In the upper menu, click on "Safari".
3. Then, click on "Preferences" to open Safari preferences.
4. When a window appears, go to the "Websites" tab.
5. Then, in the left sidebar, select "Reader".

Go to Reader

6. Then, in the Safari browser, open the website you want. It will automatically appear in the box under "Automatically use Reader on the websites below".
7. Next to the opened website's address, click on the drop-down menu and select "On" to enable dark mode on that specific website.

Enable Dark Mode on Safari specific sites

8. Choose the option "Off" if you do not want to browse in Dark Mode on that website.

The settings you set will stay until you decide to switch to the other mode.

Dynamic Desktop Feature

When you set Dark Mode on your Mac, your Desktop might get changed to a still picture. You can easily change it back the same way you set it.

To change your Macs background to Dynamic Desktop, follow the steps below:

1. In the upper menu, click on the Apple logo.
2. Then, go to "System Preferences".
3. In the preference window, locate and click on "Desktop & Screen Saver".
4. Go to the "Desktop" tab, and next to your desktop picture, click on the drop-down menu and choose "Dynamic".

Set Dynamic Desktop

Your Desktop will now change its background according to the time where you are located.

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We hope this article was helpful!

Below you will find a step-by-step tutorial video.

Video on 3 Quick Ways How You Can Enable Dark Mode on Mac

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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