Google will soon be testing a dark mode in Chrome for Android, continuing the effort to conform their browser to the recent trend toward darker, sleeker apps, and saving battery life along the way.

Last week, we discovered that Chrome Canary for Windows and Mac had a hidden (early work-in-progress) dark mode that could be enabled with a command line flag (not like those found in chrome://flags).

From the comments on that post (and around the internet), it’s obvious that people are clamoring for Chrome for Android to get a dark mode of its own. Combine that with Android Q seemingly getting a proper system-wide dark mode, it was only a matter of time before Google darkened Chrome’s Android app.

Enter, a new commit posted tonight to Chromium’s Gerrit source code management. In it, we can very clearly see that Google has been working on dark mode for Chrome for Android, and is ready to do some early testing on devices.

[Dark] Add build flag and experiment flag

This patch adds a build flag and an experiment flag for the dark mode experiment. It will exclude the night- resources in the build for now.

Unfortunately, as the dark mode is also hidden behind a build flag, we likely won’t be able to try Google’s vision for a darker Chrome for Android any time soon, even on Canary builds. Possibly, the only way to get a taste will be to build Chromium from the source.

When the dark mode does become available to test, it should be found under the flag “#enable-android-night-mode”, but, again, it may be quite a while before we can all get our hands and eyes on it.

9to5Google’s Take

I’ll be interested to see if Chrome for Android’s dark mode launches simultaneously with the other platforms or waits until after the launch of Android Q.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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