If you’re not using dark mode on your Android device, you might notice that Google Assistant is using a dark theme regardless, and Google says that’s intentional.

Over the past few months some users have noticed that the Google Assistant only shows a dark mode theme on Android 13, even if the phone itself is set to show a light mode theme. Some have assume this is simply a bug, as Assistant has shown a light mode theme in the past.

But according to Google, stripping light mode from the Assistant is intentional on Android phones.

In a bug tracker comment highlighted by Android Police, Google says that Assistant will only have a dark theme going forward on smartphones. This decision was apparently made in an effort to better align the look of Assistant across devices.

Google Assistant regularly tries new ideas to see what works and what could work better. This includes ways to make our products look and feel consistent throughout our product ecosystem. To offer a more helpful visual experience across all your devices, including Pixel Watch and Google TV, when you engage with Assistant on mobile Light mode is no longer available – it will now have a dark appearance, even if you have Dark theme turned off in your phone settings.

As it stands today, Assistant shows a dark theme exclusively across Wear OS and Google TV, as the comment mentions, but also on Android Auto and the company’s Nest Hub smart displays. Android smartphones were the only place where Google Assistant had an optional light mode.

While removing it is certainly a shame, it’s hard to argue with Google’s logic on this one. It does appear, though, that this change is only happening on devices running Android 13.

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Ben Schoon

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