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How to Make Your Mac Dark Mode

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Last updated: September 9, 2023

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Are you ready to embrace the dark side? No, I’m not recruiting for a galactic empire, but inviting you to explore the moody, sleek aesthetics of Dark Mode on your Mac. If you’re a night owl or someone who craves an “after-hours” aesthetic, Mac’s Dark Mode is your ticket to a more eye-friendly computing experience.

Whether you’re looking to reduce eye strain, save battery life, or want a change of scenery on your beloved Mac, Dark Mode has you covered. In this article, I’ll reveal how to make your Mac Dark Mode to give your eyes much-needed pampering. So let’s get started!

How to Make Your Mac Dark Mode

The days of staring at a bright computer screen during late-night browsing sessions or in low-light environments are finally over! Apple’s Dark Mode feature allows you to switch to a dark color scheme that is easier on the eyes.

Here’s how you can enable Dark Mode on your Mac, depending on your macOS version and preferred method.

On macOS Ventura

There are 4 quick ways to make your Mac Dark Mode on macOS Ventura. Each method is easy and takes only a few seconds to accomplish. Below, I’ve shared the steps for all methods.

1. Using Control Center

The Control Center on your Mac offers a convenient one-stop spot to control your system settings, including the display appearance. Follow these steps to toggle on the Dark Mode using the Control Center:

  1. Look for the Control Center icon in the top-right corner of your menu bar and click it. This will open the Control Center panel.
click control center in the menu bar
  1. Now, find the Display section within the panel. It usually shows a sun icon, and when you click it, you’ll see the appearance options.
display brightness slider in control center
  1. Click the Dark Mode option, and voila! Your Mac will instantly transform into a visually appealing dark mode theme.
click the dark mode option

2. Using Siri

Siri, Apple’s intelligent voice assistant, can also be used to activate Dark Mode on macOS Ventura. If you’re more comfortable with voice commands or just want to save a few clicks, this method is for you.

Here’s how to use Siri to make your Mac Dark Mode:

  1. Activate Siri by clicking the Siri icon in the top-right corner of your screen or by saying Hey Siri, if you have this feature enabled.
click the siri icon in the menu bar
  1. Once Siri is listening, simply say, Turn on Dark Mode.
  2. Siri will then change your Mac’s appearance setting to Dark Mode for you.

3. Using System Settings

For those who prefer to navigate the System Settings for customization, this method will walk you through how to activate Dark Mode in macOS Ventura using the System Settings.

Follow these steps to enable Dark Mode on your Mac via System Settings:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings from the dropdown list.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click Appearance in the left sidebar.
click appearance in system settings
  1. On the right side, you’ll find three options: Light, Dark, and Auto.
  2. Click the Dark option, and your Mac will instantly switch to the Dark Mode theme.
select dark option next to appearance

4. Turn on Dark Mode Automatically

With the Auto feature, your Mac will automatically switch between Light and Dark Mode based on the time of day. You’ll get a bright, clean interface during the daytime and a dark, soothing appearance in the evening and night.

The transition is smooth and seamless, allowing you to enjoy an appropriate display for your eyes and surroundings without the hassle of manual adjustments. Let’s see how to set it up:

  1. Click the Apple menu in your screen’s top-left corner and select System Settings from the dropdown list.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click Appearance in the left sidebar.
click appearance in system settings
  1. In the three options you see on the right, click the Auto option.
select auto option next to appearance
  1. Your Mac will now automatically switch between Light and Dark Mode based on the time of day.

On macOS Monterey or Big Sur

macOS Monterey and Big Sur also come with Dark Mode built-in, offering a more comfortable and easy-on-the-eyes option for those who prefer darker colors and themes.

If you’re running macOS Monterey or Big Sur, you can follow the same steps to enable Dark Mode on your Mac as you did in macOS Ventura. You can use Control Center, System Preferences (System Settings in macOS Ventura), and Siri to turn on Dark Mode on your Mac.

On macOS Catalina

With the introduction of Dark Mode in macOS Catalina, you can enjoy a more comfortable and visually appealing computing experience. Follow the steps below to enable Dark Mode on your macOS Catalina system:

  1. First, click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen, and then select System Preferences from the dropdown list.
  2. In the System Preferences window, click the General icon.
  3. In the Appearance section, you will find three options: Light, Dark, and Auto.
  4. Select the Dark option to enable Dark Mode.

Once you select the Dark option, your Mac’s interface will instantly switch to a darker color scheme, giving it a sleek and modern look. If you prefer, you can also choose the Auto setting, which will automatically switch between Light and Dark Mode based on the time of day.

On Mojave

macOS Mojave was the version where Apple introduced the much-anticipated Dark Mode, giving you a stylish and eye-friendly alternative to the standard Light Mode. If you’re running macOS Mojave, here’s how you can make your Mac Dark Mode and enjoy a more personalized computing experience:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and choose System Preferences.
  2. In the System Preferences window, select the General icon.
  3. Look for the Appearance section, where you’ll find three options: Light, Dark, and Auto.
  4. Click the Dark option to enable Dark Mode.

Your Mac will immediately switch to the Dark Mode theme, changing the appearance of the menu bar, dock, and many built-in apps to a darker color scheme.

If you wish to switch back to Light Mode, simply go back to the Appearance section in the General settings and select the Light option.

On OS X Yosemite to macOS High Sierra

In the earlier versions of macOS, from OS X Yosemite to macOS High Sierra, Apple introduced a precursor to the full Dark Mode that would come later in macOS Mojave.

This feature, known as Dark Menu Bar and Dock, allows you to darken the appearance of the menu bar and dock, providing a hint of the sleek aesthetic that would become more prominent in later macOS versions.

Here’s how you can enable the Dark Menu Bar and Dock feature in older macOS versions:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  2. In the System Preferences window, click the General icon.
  3. In the Appearance section, you will see a checkbox labeled Use dark menu bar and Dock.
  4. Check this box to enable the feature.

Once you check the box, your Mac’s menu bar and dock will immediately switch to a darker color scheme.

If you want to return to the standard Light Mode for the menu bar and dock, simply go back to the Appearance section in the General settings and uncheck the Use dark menu bar and Dock box.

How to Add a Dark Mode Toggle to the Menu Bar

Adding a Dark Mode toggle to the menu bar of your Mac allows you to switch between Light and Dark Modes with just a single click. This can be particularly useful if you frequently switch between modes and want to avoid navigating through the System Setting each time.

You can install third-party apps, like One Switch, to add the Dark Mode toggle to your menu bar. Alternatively, macOS offers a built-in solution, i.e., Control Center.

Here’s how to add the Dark Mode toggle to the menu bar using Control Center:

  1. Click the Apple menu located in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings from the dropdown list.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Control Center in the left sidebar.
click control center in the left sidebar
  1. On the right side, click the drop-down button next to Display and select Always Show in Menu Bar.
click always show in menu bar
  1. You’ll see the Display icon, looking like a computer screen, in the menu bar. Click it.
click the display icon in menu bar
  1. Click Dark Mode in the options that appear.
click dark mode in display options

Now, you can switch between Dark and Light modes easily from your Mac’s menu bar.

How to Make Your Mac Even Darker

If the standard Dark Mode on your Mac isn’t quite dark enough for you, you can make a few additional tweaks to further darken your display and create an even more immersive and eye-friendly experience.

Here are some tips to make your Mac even darker:

  1. 🌙 Reduce Display Brightness: Lowering your display’s brightness is a simple and effective way to reduce glare and create a more comfortable viewing experience. You can adjust the brightness by using the F1 and F2 keys on your keyboard or by going to System Settings > Displays and using the Brightness slider.
  2. 🌆 Enable Night Shift: Night Shift adjusts the colors of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, reducing blue light exposure and creating a more eye-friendly environment. You can enable Night Shift by going to System Settings > Displays > Night Shift and setting a schedule or turning it on manually.
  3. 🎨 Use Custom Themes in Apps: Many apps offer custom themes or color schemes that can complement Dark Mode. For example, you can switch to a dark theme in your web browser, text editor, or code editor to create a more cohesive and immersive dark environment.
  4. 🖼️ Use a Dark Wallpaper: A dark or minimalist wallpaper can further enhance the dark aesthetic of your desktop. You can find and download dark wallpapers from various online sources or create your own using image editing software.
  5. 🔍 Enable Reduce Transparency and Increase Contrast: These accessibility settings can make the interface elements on your Mac more legible and reduce visual clutter. Go to System Settings > Accessibility > Display and toggle off Reduce transparency and Increase contrast.
  6. ⌨️ Dim Keyboard Backlight: If your Mac has a backlit keyboard, you can dim the keyboard backlight to reduce brightness and create a more focused workspace. Use the F5 and F6 keys on your keyboard to adjust the keyboard backlight brightness.

How to Turn On Dark Mode in Apps

Many popular apps now support Dark Mode, and turning it on can help create a consistent and eye-friendly user experience across your Mac. While most apps will automatically follow the system-wide Dark Mode setting, some apps allow you to toggle Dark Mode within the app independently.

Here’s how you can enable Dark Mode in various apps:

  1. ⚙️ Follow the System Setting: Most apps that support Dark Mode will automatically switch to the dark theme when you enable Dark Mode in your Mac’s system settings. Simply go to System Settings > Appearance and select the Dark appearance option.
  2. 🛠️ App Settings: Some apps allow you to toggle Dark Mode within the app, independent of the system setting. Open the app and look for the Preferences or Settings option, usually in the app’s menu bar. Navigate to the appearance or theme settings and look for an option to enable Dark Mode or switch to a dark theme.
  3. 🖲️ In-app Toggle: Certain apps provide a quick toggle for Dark Mode directly within the app interface. This icon or button lets you switch between Light and Dark Modes instantly.
  4. 🧩 Extensions or Add-ons: Some apps, especially web browsers, allow you to install extensions or add-ons that enable Dark Mode for specific websites or the entire app. Visit the app’s extension store or repository and search for a Dark Mode extension that suits your needs.
  5. 🎨 Custom Themes: In some apps, especially text and code editors, you can install or create custom themes with a dark color scheme. Look for theme options within the app’s preferences or settings and choose a dark theme you like.

Remember that not all apps support Dark Mode, and the steps to enable it may vary depending on the app. Sometimes, you may need to restart the app or even your Mac for the changes to take effect.

How to Turn Off Dark Mode on Mac

If you’ve tried out Dark Mode on your Mac but decided it’s not for you, turning it off is simple and straightforward. Follow the steps below to switch back to the Light Mode:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In System Settings, click Appearance in the left sidebar.
click appearance in system settings
  1. In the Appearance section, you will see options for Light, Dark, and Auto.
  2. Click the Light option to switch back to the standard Light Mode.
select light option next to appearance

Your Mac’s interface will instantly switch to Light Mode, changing the appearance of the menu bar, dock, and built-in apps back to the standard color scheme.

See the Darker Side With Mac’s Dark Mode

Turning your Mac to Dark Mode not only looks aesthetic but also feels easy on the eyes. Now that you know how to make your Mac Dark Mode, here are a few more tips for you to avoid some other types of darkness on your Mac:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is there no Dark Mode option on my Mac?

    If there’s no Dark Mode option on your Mac, it’s likely because you’re using an older macOS version. Dark Mode was introduced in macOS Mojave (10.14) and is available in subsequent versions. To access Dark Mode, update your Mac to at least macOS Mojave through the App Store or System Settings.

  2. Do all MacBooks have night mode?

    Yes, all modern MacBooks have a feature called Night Shift, which reduces blue light emission from the display by shifting the colors to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on the eyes in low-light conditions. Night Shift was introduced in macOS Sierra 10.12.4, so MacBooks running this version or later should have this feature.

  3. Is Dark Mode good for Mac?

    Yes, Dark Mode is good for Mac. It offers a sleek, visually pleasing alternative to the standard Light Mode. It can reduce eye strain in low-light environments, improve focus, and potentially save battery life on OLED and AMOLED screens. However, its benefits vary by user preference and specific usage scenarios.

  4. Is Dark Mode better for my eyes?

    Dark Mode can be easier on the eyes in low-light environments, as it reduces screen brightness and minimizes glare. However, its benefits depend on individual preferences, lighting conditions, and screen settings. Some users may find Dark Mode more comfortable, while others prefer Light Mode. Adjusting screen brightness, font size, and contrast or taking regular breaks may also help if you have eye discomfort.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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