Using Dark Mode With macOS Mojave

A new feature of macOS Mojave is Dark Mode. This favors light text on a dark background instead of dark text on a light background in the system and standard apps. You can see the change in the menu bar, app toolbars and sidebars, and even the backgrounds of apps like Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Mail and Maps. Not all apps will change, especially third-party apps. Document content and images will not change either, as they keep using the true color specified in the document. You can also change the accent color used in standard interface elements throughout macOS.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using Dark Mode With macOS Mojave.

So perhaps one of the simplest yet most talked about new features of macOS Mojave is Dark Mode. Dark mode is basically just an on/off switch. You turn it on to get Dark Mode. Here's what it looks like when you do so. I'm going to go into the Apple menu. System Preferences and under General there's just a simple switch here. Appearance, Light or Dark. Light is what we're been used to. We've been using this for years. It's the basic normal appearance of macOS. You have dark text, usually black text, on a light or white background. Just like here in System Preferences.

When you go to Dark Mode then you get the opposite. You get light or white text on a dark background. You can see right here in System Preferences itself, you can see the change. Right. You have this dark background and now all the text is in white. But it's not just here in System Preferences. You notice, also, in the Menu Bar here at the top as well. But it works in apps also.

So let's look at say a normal app like Mail. I'll go and bring up Mail and you can see Mail looks very different than what you might be used to. Again, it's a dark background with white text. It's in the sidebars here. It's in the toolbar. It's in the area where you read and where you compose new email. You can see you've got white text on a dark background.

Now when you go to other apps you also can see the difference. Here's Contacts, for instance. Here's Calendar, Notes, Reminders, and even Maps. Look how Maps looks here. It drastically changes the look of the actual maps itself. Photos app is going to show you this dark background. Of course the photos themselves aren't going to change. It's just the background and text there.

Pages is similar. You can see the toolbar, the sidebars, a lot of the interface elements are now dark background and white text. But the actual document itself is still going to be represented as you would normally see it. You're, of course, creating a document so the idea is that is it white paper and dark text. So that's not going to change there. The same thing with Numbers. You can see you get all dark interface elements but the actual spreadsheet itself is still going to have that same look. You can customize the look of your spreadsheet if you want but the document itself isn't going to change.

So documents themselves, photos, things like that. They're not going to change. It's the interface elements around them. When some apps have the ability, you know, to have a dark background like, for instance, in Notes or in Mail, then of course it will show it that way. But for the most part it's just really a cosmetic change. Some people might like this, particularly complex interfaces like developers who use X code or if you use PhotoShop or maybe, you know, Excel or Word where there are tons of options and tons of interface elements sometimes people say it's easier to have it Dark Mode to be able to see things. Other people like to switch it up. Maybe Dark Mode during some part of the day and Light Mode in other parts of the day.

Now you also have some other options if you go back to System Preferences here. Not only can you go between Light and Dark but you can change the accent color. So the Accent Color you can see clearly here right in System Preferences. It's the little blue color here that's in little buttons and controls. I can choose another color. So I can go through all these different ones. There's some standard ones you can choose between. You can't bring a custom one but you can go and at least choose something different than blue. This is useful sometimes when you have an app that actually uses that same highlight color heavily elsewhere and having it be that standard blue isn't helping. Maybe switching to a purple is better. Or maybe you just happen to like those colors a little bit better and you just want your Mac to look a little different.

So checkout these functions in there under System Preferences, General. See if Dark Mode is something you'll be interested in. I think for the majority of people they'll just stick with the Light Mode. But some people may enjoy actually switching to Dark Mode from time to time or maybe when using a specific app or doing a specific set of processes, you know, in the evening or the early morning or something like that. It's just a cool thing to be available. A lot of people have been wanting this for a long time so I'm sure there will be fans of Dark Mode.

Comments: 8 Responses to “Using Dark Mode With macOS Mojave”

    7 months ago

    Will battery life be better in dark mode? I am assuming battery power is saved by not having to illuminate who blocks of the screen.

    7 months ago

    Bill: I doubt it. LCD screens are “lit” whether it is white or black pixels showing. Dark Mode is not meant for energy savings. But I suppose if you can turn your screen brightness down because of Dark Mode more than in normal mode, then you may actually get some savings.

    joe juliano
    7 months ago

    Dark Mode on my iMac 2017 sucks processor power. The Mac is slower to respond. I do not use it.

    Ian Leckie
    7 months ago

    Hi Gary! I stumbled across this tiny, neat (and free) little app called “Night Owl”, which sits in the menu bar, and is a much quicker and more convenient way of turning Dark Mode on or off! It might interest you!? I’ve been using it since installing Mojave last week, no problems! Best regards, Ian. The developerĀ“s site:

    joe juliano
    7 months ago

    I will admit, I think Mojave might have a bit of a learning curve built in. Switched back to Dark Mode earlier today and as the day went on, it (DM) or I seems to process better. No explanation but windows and apps are closing again at light speed. Sorry for the blast earlier.

    7 months ago

    joe: It sounds like the slowness was unrelated. Perhaps macOS was still cleaning things up and indexing files after the upgrade.

    josh harrison
    5 months ago

    Mojave was super slow until I did a clean install, now works great. I am curious if dark mode saves energy. Would be fun to know how much energy Apple saved the world through this update.

    5 months ago

    josh: I don’t see how Dark Mode will save any energy. Perhaps if you also turn down your screen brightness, but you can do that with Dark Mode off too.

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