How to schedule your Android 11 dark theme for sunset


by in Mobility on October 27, 2020, 10:56 AM PST

If you’re a fan of dark themes, you’ll be glad to know the scheduling of this UI change has been improved with Android 11.


Image: Jack Wallen

Android 11 has brought to life some new features and polished up a few bits and pieces that came into being in previous incarnations. One such bit of polish found its way into the dark theme management of the platform.

For those that like to use the dark theme, you can always just turn it on and have at your day. For those that prefer the regular theme during the day, but need the more subdued option at night, you could schedule it for specific times. That’s a great option, but it’s not always ideal–especially when you have to account for time changes and time zones.

Fortunately, the developers of Android took the time to refine this feature a bit and add a new sunset to sunrise option. When you enable this, your Android UI will automatically switch to the dark theme at sunset and return to the standard theme at sunrise. This is a solid solution, especially for those that wake up in the middle of the night to check their phone. 

Insomniacs around the globe rejoice–no more unlocking your phone, only to be blinded by the glow of the light theme.

How do you schedule this shift from sunset to sunrise? I’m going to show you.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020: Galaxy Z Fold2, Samsung Galaxy S20, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What you’ll need

The only thing you’ll need to schedule the dark mode for a sunset to sunrise appearance is a device running Android 11.

How to schedule the automatic dark mode switch

Open the Settings app and go to Display. Tap Dark Theme and then tap Schedule (Figure A).

Figure A



The dark theme settings options are ready to serve.

From the drop-down, tap Turns On From Sunset To Sunrise (Figure B).  

Figure B



Setting your dark theme schedule on Android 11.

Once you’ve scheduled the dark theme, you’ll also have a button that allows you to enable it at any time. Return to Settings | Display | Dark Theme and tap Turn On Until Sunrise and the UI will immediately shift. Once the dark theme is in effect, you can either wait until sunrise or you can return here and tap Turn Off Until Sunset (Figure C).

Figure C



Dark theme is on and can be manually switched off.

An easier way to manually switch to dark mode

There is, of course, an easier way to switch between dark and light themes. If you pull down the Notification shade to reveal the Quick Action tiles, you can edit the existing tile set to include one to enable dark theme.

To do this, pull down the Notification shade twice and tap the pen icon in the bottom-left corner (Figure D).

Figure D



The Quick Action tiles of Android 11 on a Google Pixel 4.

With the edit window open, scroll down until you find the Dark Theme icon (Figure E).

Figure E



The Dark Theme Quick Action tile.

Tap and hold the Dark Theme tile and drag it to the top of the screen so it’s where you want it in the Quick Action portion of screen. 

Once you’ve taken care of this, tap the back arrow at the top-left of the screen. If you now pull the Notification shade down twice, you’ll see the Dark Theme tile (Figure F). Tap that tile to enable the dark theme.

Figure F



The Dark Theme tile has been successfully added.

To disable the dark theme, tap the tile again and it will then be disabled until sunset.

And that’s all there is to scheduling the dark theme for sunset to sunrise and making it easier to manually enable it when you need it before sunset.

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Brian Jones

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