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Technology

What is Dark Mode And How it Can Help You

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What dark mode settings do we all have on our Windows, Android, and iOS devices? How can it be of help to keep our eyes protected from the harmful effects of digital screens, and what disadvantages are commonly associated with using this mode? This blog covers all these questions and outlines the process of activating this setting in your devices and favourite apps.

What Is Dark Mode, And How It Can Help You?

Also called the ‘Night mode’ or ‘dark theme’, the dark mode is a new feature on our electronic devices. The feature was first introduced in 2016 by Windows and later adopted by Apple in 2018. Users around the globe were well aware of this new setting in their laptops, PCs, tablets, and mobile phones by 2019.

Generally, we see dark-coloured text against a light background on our electronic devices. This mode serves to reverse this setting. So, you will see the light/grey coloured text against a dark background.

Users worldwide have their opinions on this new display setting. Some say it is a positive addition to the range of options we can avail, to keep our eyes safe from the extra damage of looking at the screens. While for others, it is simply a gimmick with no practical purpose. As there is an overwhelming number of claims about this feature’s benefits, let us first begin with the most important question.

Is Dark Mode Good for The Eyes?

There is no definitive answer to this question yet. With results pointing to both sides of the fence, studies to prove whether the dark mode is good for the eyes or not are inconclusive. We cannot say for sure if either is the case. But we know that people supporting and against this setting have some compelling arguments to offer on the case.

Group 1: Good for The Eyes

People supporting this side believe that dark mode reduces screen glare. With less light illuminating your face, how can you say dark mode is not the better setting? Supporters also point out that this feature reduces the amount of blue light reaching your eye. Furthermore, the contrast of light-coloured text on a dark-coloured background puts less strain on the eyes. This makes it easier for you to read from the screen. There’s also an argument that this setting benefits people with visual impairments.

Group 2: Not Good for The Eyes

The other side, in opposition, argues that dark mode makes your eyes strain more than usual. Text presented against a dark background makes the eyes open wider than usual to absorb more light. If prolonged, this can have adverse effects on your vision.

How to decide, then? After looking at the above-stated arguments, we can infer that one thing taken as a positive by one group is the same as a negative by the other group. We can thus say that it all boils down to your personal preferences. Ideally, you should play around with the settings to judge which of the two modes puts your eyes at ease and feels more natural. However, there is no compulsion to stick to either one of the two modes, as you can easily switch between them whenever you like.

Does It Save Battery?

To conserve battery, you can consider switching to this setting. Reports are suggesting that both iPhones and Android devices may save more charge by switching to the dark theme as it uses less battery. However, other reports claim that it will only help the devices with OLED screens. This is because their pixels are turned-off and draw no power in this mode. LCD screens extract the same amount of power regardless of the theme or mode, offering no charge conservation.

Apart from battery conservation, there are other benefits linked to this setting. Also, people like to outline some disadvantages of this mode. Let’s dive in to discuss them one by one.

Interesting Read: Smartphone Accessibility Settings: Everything You Need to Know

Advantages

Some of the main advantages outlined by people in favour of this setting include:

Works Well In Low Light

When we use our phones in bed, which most of us are guilty of, the dark theme reduces the amount of light emitted. Hence it will not disturb your partner’s sleep.

Low Amount Of Blue Light

We’re all concerned about blue light affecting our vision and sleep cycle and causing long-term damage. The good news is this mode lessens the amount of blue light reaching your eyes to save you from its devastating effects.

Helps With Eye Strain And Dryness

Compared with the glare of light mode, the dark mode fares better against eye strain, dryness, and sensitivities. If you are suffering from any such issues, it can save you from an excess of light. The extra eye strain comes with looking at a light display for a long time.

Helps People With Visual Impairments

Unfortunately, there’s no way to say whether the dark mode wins out against the light mode when displaying optimized screens to people with visual impairments. However, one group argues that the placement of text in light mode suits the eyes more, and the other says dark setting fares better for people with cloudy ocular media. This topic still calls for more studies. Meanwhile, we suggest trying both modes to judge which one suits you the best.

Disadvantages

We cannot conclude whether the dark mode is suitable for the eyes or not. People in opposition to the dark mode say they can see some disadvantages linked to this mode. These include:

Increased Stress on The Eyes

As it mostly depends on individual preference, some say text in this mode is much harder to read. The light text on a dark background makes your eyes work more to register and flow through the words when reading a relatively long form of text.

Not Suitable for Prolonged Usage

Speaking of long-form text, this mode seems to fare much worse when the reader’s eyes are going through a lengthy article. The longer you look at the screen in dark mode, the more strain it appears to be putting on your eyes.

Effectiveness Is Reduced in Well-Lit Rooms

Reading text on the screen will be more challenging if you are in a well-lit environment and your phone is in the dark theme. Especially under sunlight, it will be better to switch to light mode.

Most smartphones today have an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode). This means that every pixel on their screen is a tiny bulb that emits light. Every time a colour is displayed on the screen, the OLEDs emit that colour in the background. However, guess what happens when the screen must display black? The OLEDs turn off.

This is because in OLED screens, unlike LCDs, there is no need to manipulate screen components to go dark artificially. Simply turning them off does the trick. Therefore, every time your screen is on dark mode, the tiny bulbs in your screen corresponding to the black are not consuming any battery.

How To Enable Dark Mode on Your Device?

Whether you’re using Android, iOS, or Windows, their operating systems offer the option to toggle between light and dark modes. Depending upon the model of your device, you can activate the theme from device settings. Though in some makes or models, you may first have to download the software update necessary to activate this mode.

For Android Devices:

Phones updated to the Android 10 update offer an option to activate a phone-wide dark mode. Here’s how to activate it:

  1. Go to ‘Settings and Display’
  2. Select ‘Advanced’
  3. Toggle the ‘Dark Theme’ on.

For iOS Devices:

The iOS 13 update gives it the option to activate a system-wide dark mode by following the below-written procedure. It is to be noted that some apps may be exempt from this setting by default.

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Display & Brightness.
  2. Select ‘Dark’, and you’re all set. Additionally, you can consider setting the brightness level that puts your eyes at ease.
  3. There is also an option to activate the setting for specific times of the day. Here’s how to activate it:
  4. Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Display and Brightness’.
  5. Toggle ‘Automatic’ on.
  6. Tap ‘Options’ and set the schedule as you see fit. Most of the time, people set it to ‘Sunset to Sunrise’.

For Windows 10:

If you have to work on your PC or laptop all day, you may be well off turning the dark mode on. Windows, like mobile devices, now allows toggling on a system-wide dark mode. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Personalization’ > ‘Colours’
  2. Open the Dropdown menu for ‘Choose your colour’ and select ‘Dark’.

 How To Activate Dark Mode in Your Favorite Apps?

Apps are the way to get things done in today’s world. There’s an app for almost everything. Need to check with a friend? Head to WhatsApp. Want to share pictures of last night’s hangout with your circle? Instagram’s your app. Want to visit a new place, but the address is not clear? Head to Google Maps and start navigating. If you’re looking to turn your favourite mode on in these apps, here’s how to do it:

Instagram

  1. For Android and iOS:
  2. Tap your profile photo in the bottom-right.
  3. Then, tap the icon with three horizontal lines.
  4. Tap ‘Settings’ > ‘Theme’.
  5. Select ‘Dark’.

 Facebook

For iOS devices:

  1. Click on the three lines in the top right corner.
  2. Scroll down and select ‘Setting and Privacy’.
  3. Toggle the ‘Dark Mode’ on.

For Android devices:

  1. Click on the three lines in the top-right corner.
  2. Scroll down and select ‘Settings & Privacy’ > ‘Dark Mode’.
  3. Select ‘On’.

Snapchat

For iOS devices:

  1. Go to your Profile and open settings.
  2. Tap on the ‘App Appearance’ menu.
  3. Select ‘Always Dark’ to keep the app permanently in dark mode or ‘Match System’ to change it whenever your phone goes to dark mode.

For Android devices:

As of now, Snapchat hasn’t rolled out this feature for android devices. Let’s see if android users get it anytime soon.

Twitter

For iOS devices:

  1. Tap on the three lines in the top-left of the app interface.
  2. Tap ‘Settings & Privacy’ > ‘Display and Sound’ > ‘Dark mode’.
  3. Toggle the ‘dark mode’ on.

For Android devices:

  1. Tap on the three lines in the top-left corner.
  2. Tap ‘Settings and Privacy’ > ‘Display and Sound’.
  3. Select ‘Dark mode’ and turn it ‘On’.

Facebook Messenger

For iOS devices:

  1. Click on where your profile photo is in the top-left corner.
  2. Tap ‘Dark mode’ and turn it ‘On’.

For Android devices:

  1. Click on your profile photo visible in the top-left corner.
  2. Toggle ’Dark mode’ on.

YouTube

For iOS devices:

  1. Tap on your profile picture in the app interface.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ > ‘YouTube’.
  3. Turn the ‘Dark theme’ on.

For Android devices:

  1. Tap where your profile photo is visible in the top-right corner.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘Appearance’.
  3. Select ‘Dark theme’.

For Windows and Mac OS:

  1. Click your profile picture in the top-right corner
  2. Select ‘Appearance’
  3. Choose the ‘Dark’ theme.

Google Maps

For iOS devices:

  1. Tap on your profile picture in the top-left
  2. Select ‘Settings’ > ‘Navigation’.
  3. Go to ‘Map display’ > ‘Colour scheme’.
  4. Toggle ‘Night’.

For Android devices:

  1. Tap on your profile photo in the top-right corner.
  2. Tap ‘Settings’.
  3. Select ‘Theme’ > ‘Always in Dark Theme’.

Gmail

For iOS devices:

  1. Select ‘Settings’ > ‘General Settings’ > ‘Theme’.
  2. Choose ‘Dark’.

For Android devices:

  1. In the top-left corner, tap the three lines.
  2. Tap ‘Settings’ > ‘General Settings’ > ‘Theme’.
  3. Select ‘Dark’.

Outlook

For iOS devices:

  1. Tap your profile image in the top-left corner.
  2. Tap ‘Settings’ (image of a cog).
  3. Go to ‘Preferences’ > ‘Appearance’.
  4. Select ‘Dark’.

For Android devices:

  1. Tap your profile picture visible in the top-left corner.
  2. Tap ‘Settings’ (image of a cog).
  3. Go to the ‘Preferences’ sub-menu and select ‘Appearance’.
  4. Select ‘Dark’.

Chrome

For Windows 10:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Personalization’ and select ‘Colours’
  2. In ‘Choose your default mode’ select ‘Dark’.

For Mac OS:

  1. Open ‘System Preferences’ and select ‘General’.
  2. At the top of ‘General preferences,’ you will see a toggle for light or dark modes.

For iOS devices:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Display and Brightness’.
  2. Select the ‘Dark’ option.

For Android devices:

  1. Tap the three-dot menu button from the top right corner.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ > ‘Themes’.
  3. Select ‘Dark’.

Firefox

For Windows 10:

  1. From the main menu, select ‘Customize’.
  2. Choose ‘Dark’ from the ‘Themes’ menu.

For Mac OS:

  1. Open ‘System Preferences’ > ‘General’
  2. Tap ‘Appearance’ and select ‘Dark’.

For iOS devices:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ in the menu panel.
  2. Tap ‘Theme’ > ‘Dark’.

For Android devices:

  1. Go to settings > Theme
  2. Select Dark

Safari

For Windows 10:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ > Appearance.
  2. Select ‘Dark’ from the options available.

For Mac OS:

  1. Open the Apple Menu and select ‘System Preferences’.
  2. Click ‘General’ > Appearance.
  3. Select ‘Dark’.

For iOS devices:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Display and Brightness’
  2. Click ‘Appearance’ and select ‘Dark’

For Android devices:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Customize’.
  2. Select ‘Theme and choose ‘Dark’.

LinkedIn

For iOS devices:

  1. Tap your account icon and go to ‘Settings’.
  2. Tap ‘Account preferences’.
  3. Go to the ‘Display’ section and tap ‘Dark mode’.

For Android devices:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ by tapping your account icon.
  2. Select ‘Account preferences’.
  3. Go to ‘Display’ and select ‘Dark mode’.

TikTok

The procedure is the same for iOS and Android devices. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to your profile and tap three dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Scroll until you see ‘dark mode’. Tap to activate it.

Microsoft Word

For iOS devices:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’
  2. Tap ‘Display & Brightness’
  3. Choose ‘Dark’

For Android devices:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and scroll down until you find the ‘Theme’ option.
  2. Select ‘Dark’.

For Windows:

  1. In the ribbon on the screen top, click ‘File’.
  2. Click ‘Account’ and tap ‘Office theme’.
  3. Choose ‘Black’.

Jira

For iOS and Android devices:

  1. To activate dark mode in Jira iOS and android apps, follow this procedure,
  2. Select your account avatar
  3. Select ‘Settings’ > ‘Theme’
  4. Choose ‘Dark’.

For Windows and Mac OS:

The Jira web will follow the settings of your browser. Set your browser to the dark theme.

Talk Home App

For iOS devices:

  1. Select the three parallel lines in the top-right corner of your App’s home screen.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ > ‘Display’
  3. Choose ‘Dark’ from the themes option.

For Android devices:

  1. Select the three parallel lines in the top-right corner of your App’s home screen.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ > ‘Display’
  3. Choose ‘Dark’ from the themes option

Conclusion

Though there are some benefits linked to using the dark theme, it is still too early to decide whether it’s a good thing for the eyes or not. As time passes, more research needs to be done to come to some definitive conclusion. However, we can say that it mainly depends upon your preferences. If you feel comfortable with the text and colour scheme of the dark mode, then it’s your thing. Otherwise, the light theme would be your go-to option.

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