How to enable and configure it

Do you want to take your visual experience with Mac to the next level? Dark mode is here to help you. Since the feature’s first appearance, people have tried to enable Dark Mode everywhere: from single apps like YouTube to system-wide like Windows 10.

The scientific reason is that Dark Mode really helps reduce your eye strain. So, if you spend many hours in front of your computer for work or entertainment, Dark Mode is one of the ways to reduce harm. But that’s not what makes it so popular.

The truth is, Dark Mode looks great. It’s more fun and user-friendly. Sure, it gives things a more dramatic and mysterious look, but it also makes the content stand out. That will help you focus on whatever you’re working on, minimizing background distraction with dark colors and tones.

Here’s how to enable macOS Dark Mode, as well as some hidden tips to get the most out of it.

How to Enable macOS Dark Mode

A proper full version of Dark Mode is available in macOS Mojave or later. While you may already have dark mode in High Sierra, it’s not system-wide.

Before getting started with Dark Mode, check that your Mac is on the list of supported computers:

  • MacBook models introduced in early 2015 or later.
  • MacBook Air models introduced in mid-2012 or later.
  • MacBook Pro models introduced in mid-2012 or later.
  • Mac mini models introduced in late 2012 or later.
  • iMac models introduced in late 2012 or later.
  • iMac Pro.
  • Mac Pro models introduced in 2013 or later.

If your Mac is on the list, here’s how to enable Dark Mode in three easy steps.

System Preferences in Apple Menu
  1. From the drop-down menu Apple menuchoose System Preferences.
  1. Go Shared.
Dark mode selection in the General window
  1. Below Appearanceyou will find options to change your Mac theme. Light or Dark for macOS Mojave or Light, Darkand Automatic for macOS Catalina.

In Catalina, they added Automatic preferences will automatically change from Light to Dark theme depending on the time of day.

How to Configure macOS Dark Mode in Apps

Dark mode is a palette of colors your computer uses, and it works system-wide. That includes built-in Mac apps, as well as third-party apps that can apply Dark Mode.

For better performance, you may want to customize some apps, their settings, and their behavior in Dark Mode.


View tab in Mail preferences

In macOS Dark Mode, Mail automatically sets a dark background for messages. If you prefer a lighter background, go to Mail Interests > Watching > and uncheck Use a dark background for messages box.


Use the dark background checkbox in Mail Preferences

Similar to Mail, the option to configure your background back to light is in Interests. Unchecked Use a dark background for note content to provide the necessary contrast.


If for some reason you don’t like the somewhat mysterious look that Dark Mode gives the Maps app interface, that’s an easy fix as well. Choose View from the application’s ribbon menu and uncheck Using Dark Map box.

Desktop Pictures

It’s only fair that your desktop wallpaper syncs with your Mac’s stylish new look. If you’re looking to reduce visual distractions, try one of these minimalist desktop styles for your computer.

If you’re using Dynamic Desktop, Dark Mode can change to a still image when you turn it on.

Desktop options in Desktop & Screensaver

To revert it, go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Desktop & Screensaver. Then choose from the default options or create your own Live Desktop wallpaper.

These are just a few examples of how to customize Dark Mode in apps. For other applications, you can find the option to configure it in View the settings of the app or the part of the app Interests.

Use Hidden macOS Dark Mode Tips & Tricks

For those of you looking to achieve more with Dark Mode, we have some other tricks you can use on your Mac. For better productivity and even more style.

Night shift

Night Shift is a feature you can use in Dark Mode to change the color of your display depending on the time of day. It will make the colors a bit warmer and more orange at night to reduce your eyestrain. A good find for someone who spends a lot of time using the device overnight.

To enable Night Shift, go to System Preferences > Display. inside Night shift tab, under Schedule choose From sunset to dawn. That way, the color will automatically revert to its normal shade of blue at sunrise.

Night owl

Night owl advertisement

In macOS Catalina, there is an option to automatically switch between Light Mode and Dark Mode. If you’re running macOS Mojave, you can use a free app called Night Owl to achieve the same effect and more.

Night Owl . installer window

With Night Owl, you have complete control over your Mac’s Dark Mode. You can set it up to switch the light scheme at certain times of the day, as well as use a light background in the app while in Dark Mode.

The Night Owl icon in the Mac menu

After you install the app, an owl icon will appear in your menu bar. You can use it to manually switch between Light Mode and Dark Mode, or set a keyboard shortcut to do it faster.

Turn on dark mode even darker

Yes, you can bring even more contrast and style to your Mac with a hidden dark version of the Dark Mode theme.

To activate it, go to Apple menu > System Preferences. Below Toneoption Lead instead of default blue color.

You may not notice the difference immediately, but the subject will have darker colors and higher contrast. Try switching between different accent colors over time and see which works best for you.

Master Dark Mode on Mac

According to the developers, MacOS Dark Mode helps you better focus on your tasks, thus helping you avoid distractions and waste less time.

Are you a fan of Dark Mode? Does dark mode help you focus or is it just another stylish tool for your Mac? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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