How to activate 'Dark mode' in OS X Yosemite

Posted:
in macOS edited October 2019
While a seemingly minor addition, Apple's inclusion of a so-called "Dark Mode" in OS X Yosemite, which basically flips the translucent menu bar and dock from light gray to black, answers the call of many longtime Mac users.




The feature can be toggled on and off by visiting the General pane in System Preferences. As seen in the screenshot above, a new option titled "Use dark menu bar and Dock" appears just below the "Appearance" drop-down menu.

Clicking on the button activates dark mode to tone down the light gray translucent menu bar and Dock placeholder, as well as drop-down menu backgrounds.

Flipping the switch changes black text and menu bar iconography to white, but unlike beta versions of Yosemite, no weight is added to OS X system fonts. For some, the white-on-black motif may be hard to read. If you don't find the look appealing, toggling off the "Use LCD font smoothing when available" option in the same General menu pane will help thin down the characters, but be aware this is a universal change, meaning black text will also appear less bold.

First-party menu bar iconography is also shifted from black to white, but most third-party apps are left unchanged. Because most menu bar icons come in black, or at least feature black borders, Apple's system applies a sliver of white on the bottom edge of each graphic. The result is a slightly embossed look that, while not optimal, is a decent stopgap until developers roll out in white icon assets.



Those looking to further tune their desktop layout can play with traditional settings and display options to better suit the dark mode look. In our experience, swapping the usual Blue aesthetic in System Preferences > General > Appearance for Graphite tones down Yosemite's bright, bold color palette. Among other UI assets, Graphite changes the "stoplight" window pane control colors to gray for a sleek and less intrusive experience.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,138member
    I wish this made the entire UI dark mode too...such as Finder windows for example. I do use this as my primary setting though. I really like it.
  • Reply 2 of 56
    The impressions I've read make it seem like they had bigger plans for Dark Mode and scaled them back before release. Shame.
  • Reply 3 of 56

    Sigh.

     

    If you use full-screen applications, this is an utterly pointless feature.

     

    I wish there was a universal Sepia mode for the backgrounds of all applications, especially Safari, as can be found in iBooks.

  • Reply 4 of 56
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,328member
    Sigh.

    If you use full-screen applications, this is an utterly pointless feature.
    .

    And if you don't, then it isn't.
  • Reply 5 of 56
    judasjudas Posts: 13member

    I think i'll be stuck with the lighter mode till 3rd party menu updates happen... Sad. I also wish they would do this system wide.

  • Reply 6 of 56
    noivadnoivad Posts: 186member
    The Menubar and dock are hardly the reason for so much light overspill in dark rooms. The white background (such as the System Prefs shown in the video) of most apps is the cause of this blinding need for a true dark mode. If this demo covers the extent of the changes, and it doesn%u2019t address the real light overspray issue, then it looks like a half-assed attempt at a %u201Cdark mode.%u201D I hope the one poster who mentioned they had grander plans, that were scaled back is right, because perhaps there are hidden features one can activate with MacPilot or a %u201Cdefaults write%u201D terminal command.

    I hope I am wrong about the depth of changes and the video doesn%u2019t cover them. If not, I will continue to just turn down the backlight to 1 if this is all that %u201Cdark mode%u201D does. (Besides, I bet I%u2019m not the only user who hides the dock on the left to maximize screen real estate on laptops.)

    Hey, at least we haven%u2019t heard about any major data loss from the upgrade! (Have we?)
  • Reply 7 of 56
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    Quote: "I wish there was a universal Sepia mode for the backgrounds of all applications, especially Safari, as can be found in iBooks."

    It's not Sepia, but it you dislike bright colors, System Preferences-Accessibility-Display as a "Use Greyscale" option that should be universal.
  • Reply 8 of 56
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member

    Dark mode sounds fine but what about letting us enlarge the 3 colored buttons that look like pinheads now? On an iMac you can barely click on them. They need to be larger or get a line edge because it strains the eyes to click one. 

    Also why does iTunes still not have the double click -upper border- to- the- dock function that every other app has and it had years ago?

  • Reply 9 of 56
    inkling wrote: »
    Quote: "I wish there was a universal Sepia mode for the backgrounds of all applications, especially Safari, as can be found in iBooks."

    It's not Sepia, but it you dislike bright colors, System Preferences-Accessibility-Display as a "Use Greyscale" option that should be universal.

    Thanks for the suggestion; I’ll give that a try.

    The problem arises because my 2008 iMac is a model that never gets very dark even at the lowest brightness. Later iMacs go much darker.
  • Reply 10 of 56
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,530member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

     

    Dark mode sounds fine but what about letting us enlarge the 3 colored buttons that look like pinheads now? On an iMac you can barely click on them. They need to be larger or get a line edge because it strains the eyes to click one. 

    Also why does iTunes still not have the double click -upper border- to- the- dock function that every other app has and it had years ago?




    Perhaps you could try a keyboard shortcut if it's causing such a problem.

  • Reply 11 of 56
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     



    Perhaps you could try a keyboard shortcut if it's causing such a problem.




    I prefer using only one hand on my mouse as the other hand is usually occupied with something else. 

    But it looks like I will need to use both hands now.

    And I'm always double clicking the upper border to clean up my desktop but still can't with iTunes.

     

    But thanks for the suggestion- I just learned the short cut for full view because of it.

  • Reply 12 of 56
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    noivad wrote: »
    The Menubar and dock are hardly the reason for so much light overspill in dark rooms.

    That's what I thought when I saw it. The underlying issue that needs fixing is too much white in the GUI, and the menu bar and Dock are not even the main part of that. Using so much white is fine in iOS because the device screens are so small, in fact it helps with a small screen to have it extra bright, but on a computer-sized screen it just burns your retinas out.
  • Reply 13 of 56
    noivadnoivad Posts: 186member

    Yap! we are in 100% agreement.

  • Reply 14 of 56
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,138member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ascii View Post





    That's what I thought when I saw it. The underlying issue that needs fixing is too much white in the GUI, and the menu bar and Dock are not even the main part of that. Using so much white is fine in iOS because the device screens are so small, in fact it helps with a small screen to have it extra bright, but on a computer-sized screen it just burns your retinas out.



    Yes...this goes back to my comment. Not only does the Dock and Menu Bar need to be darkened, but also the finder windows, Safari windows, system pref window(s), etc. 

  • Reply 15 of 56
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,138member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

     

    Sigh.

     

    If you use full-screen applications, this is an utterly pointless feature.

     

    I wish there was a universal Sepia mode for the backgrounds of all applications, especially Safari, as can be found in iBooks.




    I don't know many that use solely full-screen apps. I'm not really a fan of them to be honest. I actually pisses me off that the green button on a window makes your window go full-screen instead of changing the size of it. It was one of the features I reported to Apple to put back the way it was. There was nothing wrong with the Mavericks way of making an app go full-screen. 

  • Reply 16 of 56
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,309member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

     



    I don't know many that use solely full-screen apps. I'm not really a fan of them to be honest. I actually pisses me off that the green button on a window makes your window go full-screen instead of changing the size of it. It was one of the features I reported to Apple to put back the way it was. There was nothing wrong with the Mavericks way of making an app go full-screen. 




    Option-Click. Problem solved. 

     

    My issue with fullscreen is the animation, which I think should be quicker. 

  • Reply 17 of 56
    Seem like they should have made it invert colors like IOS.
  • Reply 18 of 56
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,138member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

     



    Option-Click. Problem solved. 

     

    My issue with fullscreen is the animation, which I think should be quicker. 


     

    I know this...should be option click to go full screen not the other way around. 

  • Reply 19 of 56
    Seem like they should have made it invert colors like IOS.

    But that has been there for a long time already:
    SysPrefs ? Accessibility ? Display ? Invert colours
  • Reply 20 of 56
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,073member

    Dark mode looks like it's still in Alpha.

     

    I prefer Menu Eclipse to darken the menu bar and cDock to remove the dock background completely. What used to bug me the most was the drop down menus if I got up at night, even with menu eclipse they'd be glaring white but now with translucency, all is right with the world.

     

    EDIT: added new screenshot. I just discovered that Menu Eclipse works in Dark Mode to darken the white type because the bright white type looks a bit shitty, but with a neutral grey it looks pretty good.

     

     

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