Lights Out: How to Turn on Dark Mode in MacOS

Staring at your Mac screen for too long in a dark room can strain your eyes. Rather than subjecting yourself to garish colors and blindingly white menus, you can turn on dark mode. The feature has been available since the release of macOS Mojave in 2018, and just like you can turn on Dark Mode in the Settings menu on Windows 10 and Windows 11, you can do the same thing in System Preferences on a Mac. Here’s how to set up and customize the feature.

How to enable dark mode on Mac

Macos settings

(Credit: PCMag/Jason Cohen)

If you want dark mode on your Mac, all you have to do is open it System Settings > General and choose the Dark Looks. This will change the color of the OS settings menu, dock, and menu bar at the top of the screen. If you’re still using one of Apple’s default backgrounds, it also changes the colors to a darker shade.

You can further customize the dark theme from the same menu by changing the accent color used for settings menus and supported apps. If you want windows that are distinctly black, uncheck the box Allow wallpaper tint in windows.

Dark mode can also be activated quickly from the Control Center. Click the switch icon on the menu bar and click advertisementthen choose Dark mode to turn the feature on and off.

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How to set up Dynamic Desktop

Macos wallpaper settings

(Credit: PCMag/Jason Cohen)

If you only want dark mode at certain times of the day, go to System Settings > General and choose instead automobile, which changes the color theme of your desktop with the time of day. The operating system uses light mode during the day and switches to dark mode after hours.

Apple offers a collection of color-changing desktop wallpapers. To change the default wallpaper, go to System Preferences > Desktop & Screensavers and choose the Apple Folder to choose from a collection of backgrounds supporting different color themes.

Some options change color multiple times throughout the day, while others have a simple day or night theme that they alternate between. In order for Dynamic Desktop to work, you must select one of the supported wallpapers and ensure that it is set to do so Automatically. If you choose both light (still) or dark (quiet), it will change your OS theme accordingly.

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Which apps are affected?

Apple TV app

Apple TV app (Credit: PCMag/Jason Cohen)

Changing the color theme on your Mac also changes many of the built-in apps including App Store, Disk Utility, Find My, Keynote, Mail, Maps, Messages, Music, Messages, Notes, Numbers, Pages, Photos, Podcasts , Safari, Shortcuts, System Preferences, TextEDit, TV and more.

Some third-party apps also support dark mode on your Mac, so changing the theme will affect apps like Chrome and Signal as well. Check any other programs you use to see if they have options to change the color theme.

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To dim the lights on all your Apple devices, check out how to turn on dark mode on your iPhone or iPad.

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