Android’s going dark again, and maybe this time it’s gonna last.
When I joined the Android world, Google Play Music All Access had a dark theme to it, and I absolutely loved it. I savored those darker hues when listening to my music late into the night. Then at Google I/O 2013, they unveiled All Access, and a shiny, white UI to go with it. And I wept, for my beloved dark theme was gone. Soon, white UIs took over all the Google apps, and over most of the system, as the once-dark Settings app went white in Lollipop.
Now, in the Android N developer preview, some of apps are reclaiming their darker UIs with the newly returned Night mode. And I hope that maybe, just maybe, dark themes will return to more individual apps.
In Android M’s developer preview, Night mode was hiding in the Developer options, but it was pulled from the official release. This year, it’s back, but it’s in the System UI Tuner, in a new section called Color and appearance.
Night mode has more granular settings this year rather than a simple on/off/automatic choice like last year. After enabling Night mode, you have the option to have it come on automatically based on your location and time. You can also manually toggle it from the settings menu or from the Quick Settings page, if you prefer.
At the moment, while night mode can implement a dark theme for the Android system, it does not change the theme in third-party apps, or even in Google’s apps. However, in Android Support Libraries released in February, Google did announce new DayNight theme protocols to help developers easily create both light and dark themes for their apps. They also highly encouraged them to test them, as many hard-coded colors don’t play nice in dark