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How To Enable/Disable Dark Mode On Mac [And Why You Should]

macbook If you’re wondering how to enable Mac Dark mode, that’s perfectly understandable. Many of us have drastically increased our screen time due to the new work-from-home culture. The effects of staring at the light from your Mac’s screen for long periods of time can be quite damaging.

A nifty way to make your Mac experience more comfortable and productive is by enabling the dark interface, especially after sundown. You also end up saving some battery life on your MacBooks. This mode is not new to macOS. It has been part of the Apple OS since macOS Mojave in 2018.

Let’s unpack how to make Mac dark mode work for you, how to turn it off when you want to, and how to get an even darker macOS experience.

How To Turn On Dark Mode On MacOS Monterey

macOS Dark Mode is a universal effect that can be applied not only to your native apps but also to a host of third-party apps. And naturally, this interface with darker colors applies to all your menus, buttons and windows, and the dock. If you’re browsing on Safari, only the ones designed for it will become dark when you turn on the feature.

Enable Dark Mode On Mac From System Preferences

This method works with all versions of macOS. It’s a simple, four-step process: System Preferences
1. Click the Apple logo/button on the menu bar (top left of your screen).
2. Choose System Preferences. General
3. Click on the General settings section.
4. Next to the Appearance section, select Dark. Appearance Dark
5. Your dock, buttons, menus, and windows will instantly turn dark, including the current System Preferences window you’re on.
6. You can also select Auto to automatically turn on Dark Mode at sunset and turn it off at sunrise.

Enable On Mac From Control Center

Apple introduced the Control Center in macOS Big Sur and it’s also an essential part of the current macOS Monterey. Enabling the mode on your Mac becomes much easier and faster through the Control Center.

1. Click on the Control Center icon near the top right of your screen.
2. From the drop-down window, click on the Display panel.
3. In the expanded panel, select Dark Mode. Control Center Using this method, you can enable or disable the mode right from your desktop, without needing to head into System Preferences.

Enable On Mac Using Siri

  1. Say ‘Hey Siri’ when you’re near your Mac.
  2. Once Siri activates, say something like ‘Turn on Dark Mode’ or just ‘Dark Mode’.
  3. Siri will instantly enable this mode on your screen.

This method can prove useful if you’ve got your hands busy, say, during a meal, or you’re just too lazy to click around.

Bonus: Add A Toggle To Your Menu Bar

On macOS Big Sur and newer, you can add a quick toggle for the Display settings right on your top menu bar.

    1. Open the Control Center from the top right side of your screen.
    2. Drag and drop the Display panel to the menu bar.
    3. The Display panel will now reside on your menu bar as a separate button. You can click on it anytime to access the Dark Mode button.

Display Panel Menu Bar
How To Turn On The Function On Older MacOS Versions

As features like the Control Center were introduced only from macOS Big Sur, the steps to enable the mode on older macOS versions are somewhat different.

Moreover, on macOS High Sierra and earlier versions, only the dock and the menu bar will turn dark upon enabling this setting. The windows and other interface elements will be unaffected.

MacOS Catalina

macOS Catalina preceded macOS Big Sur and introduced useful new features like Sidecar, allowing users to use an iPad as a second screen.

  1. Open System Preferences after clicking on the Apple logo.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Next to the Appearance section, click on Dark or Auto.

MacOS Mojave

macOS Mojave was the version that first brought Dark Mode to the Macs. Follow the exact three steps outlined above to reduce the glare from your screen.

OS X Yosemite To MacOS High Sierra

While OS X Yosemite introduced major UI changes and macOS High Sierra made the switch to Apple File System (APFS), neither of the two (including the versions between them) support Dark Mode. Instead, you can apply the effect only to the dock and menu bar.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Check the box next to Use dark menu bar and Dock.

How To Turn Off The Function On Mac

Turning off or disabling dark screen mode on your Mac is pretty simple. You can either click on Light in the Display panel or in the Appearance section, as we discussed in the previous paragraphs. You also have the option of selecting Auto if you want your screen to turn dark at sunset, and light, at sunrise automatically.

How To Switch Between Dark And Light Mode

Switching between Light and Dark modes is also fairly straightforward on your Mac. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Head to the Display panel on macOS Big Sur or newer, or System Preferences > General > Appearance on all older versions.
  2. From here, you can switch to Light Mode.
  3. To switch back, simply click on Dark once again.

You can also add a toggle for the Display panel to your menu bar and use that for quick switching between the two modes.

How To Make Your Mac Even Darker

If you want an even easier experience for your eyes, you can use two extra features in addition to Dark Mode – Dynamic Desktop and Night Shift.

Dynamic Desktop

Dynamic Desktop was introduced in macOS Mojave back in 2018. What it does is tweak your desktop wallpaper to correspond to the time of day. The same image will change to a night theme during the night time and to a day theme during the day. This is applicable only when using the desktop wallpapers included by default in your Mac. Dynamic Desktop Follow the steps below to enable Dynamic Desktop:

  1. Click the Apple logo/button on the menu bar (top left of your screen) and select System Preferences.
  2. Select Desktop & Screen Saver.
  3. Once the Desktop tab is picked at the top, select Desktop Pictures under Apple on the left pane.
  4. From the collection of wallpapers on the right, pick the one you like and select Dynamic from the drop-down menu next to the thumbnail of the image you selected.
  5. There will be a dynamic change from a light to dark background on your wallpaper as the day progresses.

Night Shift

Night Shift is another display feature on macOS, introduced in macOS Sierra. It adjusts your screen’s brightness and color temperature automatically from cold to warm, as the day progresses, to ease the strain on your eyes.

It reduces blue light gradually during the day. You can turn Mac night mode on from the same Display panel used to enable Dark Mode.

How To Schedule The Function On Your Mac

Choosing the Auto setting in the Display settings, you can turn Dark Mode on or off, but only at sunset and sunrise, not at a time of your choosing. You can also achieve this result using another feature discussed previously – Night Shift. Schedule Night Shift On Mac It can be scheduled to turn on or off based on any custom setting of your choice. And this scheduling affects the Dark Mode option as well. This way, you can effectively turn the latter feature on and off based on the time you input in the Night Shift settings. Follow the steps below:

  1. Click the Apple logo/button on the menu bar (top left of your screen) and select System Preferences.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Select Auto in the Appearance section.
  4. Return to System Preferences and click Displays.
  5. Click Night Shift and in the Schedule dropdown, select Custom.
  6. Enter the times that you want Dark Mode to turn on and off respectively.

Doing this will schedule Night Shift and the darker screen feature simultaneously. If you want the scheduling to affect only the latter, you can turn the color temperature slider in the Night Shift menu as far left as possible in order to nullify its effect.

Wrapping Up

Working on your Mac without the screen glaring brightly at you can markedly improve your productivity, reduce eye strain, and enhance your overall user experience. Pairing it with the additional display features of macOS can elevate it to a whole new level.

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