Dark mode in macOS Mojave – All you need to know

One of the biggest new features in macOS Mojave is a new system-wide Dark Mode. When enabled, all sections of macOS use a dark theme, including buttons, Dock, Menu bar, Notification Center, right click menus, Finder, Preview and other apps. Text turns white when the dark appearance is used, with translucency used in many parts of the system. Apple has also added developer support to help add dark themes to third party apps and work with the system-wide appearance toggle.

Dark Mode in macOS Mojave

Dark Mode in macOS Mojave works with almost all built-in apps, and every part of the operating system. When updating to macOS Mojave for the first time, users are presented with a screen where they can enable the new theme.

macOS Mojave Dark Mode

If users choose not to enable it during Mojave setup, the them can be enabled later by going to System Preferences > General and switching to Dark in the Appearance option.

macOS Mojave Dark Mode System Peeferences

There is a really nice transition animation when you switch between light and dark modes:

Here is how macOS desktop and some apps look in the new dark mode:

macOS Mojave Dark Mode Desktop


Safari Dark Mode in macOS Mojave


Finder Dark Mode in macOS Mojave


Messages app dark mode in macOS Mojave


Photos app dark mode in macos Mojave


Notes using Dark Mode in macOS Mojave


iTunes macOS Mojave Dark Mode


Mail Dark Mode in macOS Mojave


Mac App Store macOS Mojave

New Mac App Store

At the time of writing this piece, macOS Mojave is still in developer and public beta testing. As some of screenshots above show, there are still some design issues to be ironed out. For example, the artist name in iTunes should be in white color instead of black. Other than the minor issues, the theme is really nice to use. I doubt many users would stick to the Light theme after the release of macOS Mojave.

For developers, Apple has provided APIs so that they can choose appropriate colors, materials and assets for Dark Mode. When switching to dark mode via System Preferences, all apps which support a dark theme via Apple’s macOS 10.14 APIs will switch to the dark theme instantly. Third party apps like Tweetbot, Bear and others have already supported a dark theme since ages, so it will be interesting to see how much they would modify their themes to work with Apple’s new APIs. Of course, Apple does not make it mandatory for developers to support dark visuals and actually encourages them to opt out if it meets their requirements.

Even though Mojave has the received the Dark Mode treatment, iOS still does not have a system-wide dark theme, despite some of Apple’s apps sporting it. Hopefully, Apple will add it to iPhone and iPad with some iOS 12.x update.

Microsoft added a dark mode to Windows 10 a while back and extended it to Windows Explorer this year, however, the results are less than impressive. Compared to Apple’s Finder, this is how Explorer looks like in Windows 10’s dark mode:

Windows Explorer Dark Mode

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