Slowly but surely, Google is finally delivering dark mode to Android. Through parts of the system UI as well as select apps, we’re seeing a lot more dark designs from the company. Eventually, a single toggle may flip this on system-wide, and we’re already seeing the stepping stones for that. Here’s how to enable a dark mode on Android everywhere it’s available so far.

How to use a dark device theme on Android

There are two primary methods at the moment for enabling a dark mode across the system on Android Pie. First, let’s go over the user-facing option. To access this setting, you’ll first need to access the Settings menu on your device. Once there, find the Display section and tap that. On this page, tapping Advanced and scrolling to the bottom should reveal the Device Theme option. Switching this from “Automatic” to “Dark” should switch over some elements of the interface.

Unfortunately, though, this setting doesn’t apply a dark mode everywhere it’s currently available. For now, it simply adjusts areas such as the quick settings menu, volume slider, and certain other places including the Google Discover feed. Android’s proper “Night Mode,” however, does more.

android dark mode device theme setting

How to enable Android’s dark device theme

Where does Night Mode apply a dark theme on Android?

Once you’ve enabled Android’s Night Mode, where does it actually deliver a dark theme? You won’t find it system-wide, not yet anyway, but it does arrive in a handful of places. That includes, first off, several applications directly from Google. Messages, Google Phone, and Google Contacts all mirror this setting. As more apps are updated, having this setting turned “Always On” should let you immediately see the change. Notably, this setting should be on every device running Android Pie where the Device Theme only appears on Pixel, Essential, and OnePlus devices among a few others.

Google Phone app w/ Night Mode enabled

How to enable Android Night Mode

  1. Unlock Developer Options
  2. Locate ‘Night Mode’
  3. Select Always On

1. Unlock Developer Options

To enable Android’s Night Mode, we’ll first need to unlock the developer settings. If you’ve not already done this, it’s a pretty simple process. Head to Settings and scroll all the way to the bottom. From there tap System, then About Phone. Scroll to the bottom of this page and rapidly tap on the Build Number until a toast message appears telling you that you’re now a developer.

2. Locate the ‘Night Mode’ Toggle

Once you’ve enabled Developer Options, the next step is to actually locate the Night Mode toggle to enable Android dark mode. You can, of course, dive into the list of developer options and hunt the setting down, but the easier shortcut is to just use the search option for the settings menu. Simply type in “Night Mode” and it will be the only result.

3. Toggle Night Mode ‘Always On’

After you’ve located the setting, the process is simple. Tap on the option and toggle it to “Always On” to have Android apply a dark theme everywhere it can all the time. Alternatively, if you prefer a white theme, you can toggle it to “Always Off.” There’s also an option for “Automatic” which is supposed to change based on the time of day, but it’s not always reliable – for now.

android dark mode night mode setting

How to enable Android Night Mode developer option

Between Night Mode and the device theme, you’ll be using dark mode everywhere it’s possible on Android. That is, aside from apps that use independant modes such as Google Play Games. Stay tuned to our continuously updated dark mode roundup for more information on Google’s dark mode apps, and also our APK Insight series for early news on upcoming updates.

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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