Hands on with Dark Mode in MacOS Mojave

Posted:
in macOS
At least one long-awaited feature has made its way to the Mac at WWDC this year -- Dark Mode. AppleInsider goes hands-on with the new system-wide UI in macOS Mojave.

Dark Mode in macOS Mojave


In macOS Sierra, Apple allowed users to alternate between a light and dark menu bar along the tops of their displays. This didn't go far enough to appease users, who still longed for a complete dark mode across all apps, menus, and UI elements.

That is exactly what we got with macOS Mojave.





It all starts in the preferences app where under General there lives the option to toggle between light and dark appearance. Same location where the menu bar appearance could be changed.

A really nice effect is the new default wallpaper included in Mojave. As light and dark mode is changed, the wallpaper will adjust to being day or night.

While the menu bar along the top has largely remained unchanged, everything else is new. We see this with the new dock along the bottom that has a new appearance. To the right of the new "recent" section rests a new dark trash can icon.

  • Voice memos dark mode in macOS Mojave
  • Apple News dark mode in macOS Mojave
  • Home app dark mode in macOS Mojave
  • iTunes Dark Mode in macOS Mojave
  • Mac App Store dark mode in macOS Mojave
  • Notes dark mode in macOS Mojave
  • Stocks dark mode in macOS Mojave
  • Photos dark mode in macOS Mojave


All system apps have been optimized for the new dusky UI -- even the highlighting is changed up. All of the new apps, including Home, News, Voice Memos, and Stocks look particularly good here.

Some of Apple's apps have not been updated yet like the iWork suite, most likely because of their App Store distribution. Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are all glaringly bright on the new darker interface. These will undoubtedly be updated once Mojave is released.

Third-party apps will be able to adapt to the UI as well once it is released, with just a bit of additional work. Right now, some apps can look a bit off because of it. As an example, when highlighting text in Slack, it uses a dark highlighting that makes the text largely illegible while selected. Other apps, like Affinity Photo, already fit right in.

Dark Mode in macOS Mojave is a huge step in the right direction and feature sorely needed. It looks great and will fill out even better as developers add support when it is released this fall. Unfortunately, Dark Mode still evades iOS, which is left only with Smart Invert as the only thing even close.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,429member
    Is there any expectation that this will be easier on battery life, or does that only apply to LED panels?
  • Reply 2 of 15
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 402member
    Please being this to IOS ASAP!  B)
    dewmemacxpresscaladaniansuperklotonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,829administrator
    crowley said:
    Is there any expectation that this will be easier on battery life, or does that only apply to LED panels?
    OLED might see an impact. We'll see. 

    Given that dark mode is more grey than black, if OLED Macs come to pass, it won't be a big savings.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    epicurusepicurus Posts: 21member
    i work at night and i am looking forward to dark mode 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,630member
    1) I’ve looked for, but haven’t been able to locate, the PLIST so I could use the “defaults write com.apple.[plist_name] [setting_name] [type 1]” command in Terminal so I can create a script that will change the appearance at certain times of day or when the ambient light sensor registers a certain value. Any info on this would be much appreciated.

    2) I've noticed that some websites will change their background when you switch to Dark Mode. They aren't changing the text on screen, which makes it hard to read. It makes me think working more like Smart Invert on iOS.
    edited June 6 caladanianAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 15
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,425member
    jcs2305 said:
    Please being this to IOS ASAP!  B)
    I second this!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    So far, I like Dark Mode in macOS Mojave. System Preferences doesn't look right to me. The icons need to be toned down a bit to make them go with the darker interface. I suspect that Apple will gradually smooth out the rough edges. I was disappointed that we don't seem to be able to have only the menubar and Dock set to Dark Mode. Some users may want to do that. I haven't been craving a dark mode on either macOS or iOS, but I see the benefits of it, especially in a darker room. I use YouTube in dark mode. I like it better that way.
    edited June 6 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,230member
    I wonder if it will be possible for users to create their own dynamic wallpapers. Not only from real photographs or time lapses, but from artwork, as well. And I don’t even mean artwork OF the real world. Imagine an abstract piece of art that changes coloration/mood/shape depending on the time of day.


    SpamSandwichmatrix077mike egglestonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,391member
    I love dark mode. One place it really shines is Photos. I use a number of Photos editing extensions like Aurora HDR, Pixelmator, Noiseless, and Affinity and all of them were already running in dark mode while Photos itself was still stuck in light mode. With Photos in dark mode, moving between Photos and various extensions is now very visually seamless and much more appealing overall. No down side at all since it is a user selectable choice.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 15
    JayVeeJayVee Posts: 8member
    I have a feeling that Apple didn’t want to show all its cards at WWDC so as not to spoil the hardware announcements in September. I feel that there will be a proper dark mode for iOS, and they may have hinted at it by showing a dark graphic with all the interface elements when they introduced iOS 12 on stage, and when they also showed the dark notification screen when “checking your phone at night”. Maybe there will be further enhancements to battery life for more OLED iOS devices come September..?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    macguimacgui Posts: 769member
    dewme said:
    I love dark mode. One place it really shines is Photos.
    As it should. I'm thinking that's Apple's primary reason for giving us Dark Mode. It's the first use case they mentioned. I like the idea of using DM at night. 


    The audio on the vid is disappointing for an Insider Production. Way waaaay too many plosives. I'm surprised that passed muster.



    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,630member
    I wonder if it will be possible for users to create their own dynamic wallpapers. Not only from real photographs or time lapses, but from artwork, as well. And I don’t even mean artwork OF the real world. Imagine an abstract piece of art that changes coloration/mood/shape depending on the time of day.


    There is a dynamic option for Mojave that will change the image based on location, but changing the image based on when, say, sunrise/sunset occurs, or when you have Night Shift enabled is pretty easy to set up.

    As I stated above, I would love to have the Light/Dark Mode auto-switch based on those parameters, as well as an option based on the ambient light sensor, but I haven't been able to figure out where that PLIST setting is located.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    Soli said:
    1) I’ve looked for, but haven’t been able to locate, the PLIST so I could use the “defaults write com.apple.[plist_name] [setting_name] [type 1]” command in Terminal so I can create a script that will change the appearance at certain times of day or when the ambient light sensor registers a certain value. Any info on this would be much appreciated.

    2) I've noticed that some websites will change their background when you switch to Dark Mode. They aren't changing the text on screen, which makes it hard to read. It makes me think working more like Smart Invert on iOS.
    Have you tried sorting your preferences folder by date/time and see which .plists rise to the top when you toggle the feature on and off? Or you could run a tool like fsmonitor tonsee what files are being touched when you enable dark mode.

    I’m hoping that I can turn this feature on with a configuration profile - this will be great for our multimedia teaching labs.  The Adobe apps and Final Cut already have dark themes.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    Hey Microsoft, this is what a dark mode should look like. Not that abomination recently seen of the upcoming Windows 10 Explorer dark mode. Sheesh!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,368member
    After using Dark Mode continuously on both a MBPro and Mac Pro with two 27" 4K monitors for several days I have personally come to find it is actually more tiering on the eyes for most use.  When I switched back to normal mode I had a strong sense of relief.  Some applications such as FCPro, Logic Pro, Photos and Photoshop are fantastic in DM but for the average program interface and the Finder in general it is actually harder on the senses.  What I'd like is the ability to select Dark Mode on an application by application basis rather than it be an all or nothing situation.
    watto_cobra
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