How To Enable The Built-In Dark Theme In iOS 11

Apple’s mobile operating system has never been big on letting users play around with the look and feel of its interface. If you want to make your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch truly feel like your own, the only choice you have right now is to jailbreak. Unfortunately, there are quite a few hoops to jump through and compromises to make when it comes to that particular route, which is why many users opt to stay away from it.

That doesn’t mean you have to settle for just being able to switch wallpapers, though. Apple cares deeply about user experience, which is why you’ll find several options within the iOS Accessibility settings that you can use to tweak its interface to your liking. With the release of iOS 11, said section saw the addition of an option that essentially enables a system-wide dark theme. Apart from users who may prefer darker tones for UI elements, the feature finds excellent synergy with the iPhone X, with the phone’s OLED display able to completely power down black pixels, saving precious battery life.

Called Smart Invert, the feature attempts to reverse the colors of UI elements in all apps while leaving out images and videos. The Home screen too is mostly left untouched, though notification banners and alerts are inverted. Any screenshots taken with the feature enabled aren’t inverted, though the same isn’t true for screen recordings. It doesn’t always work perfectly, however, possibly because it is still new. In most of the third-party apps that we tested the feature with, it failed to preserve the colors of images. Even in certain stock apps, visibility of certain interface elements is severely reduced. The native dark mode does look sleek, though, with the darker tones much easier on the eyes as well.

If that is something that interests you, the following is what you have to do to enable Smart Invert and check its results out for yourself.

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Navigate to General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Invert Colors.

3. Turn on the Smart Invert option.

You should immediately see your screen change colors as in the screenshots above. The inversion applies to all apps and menus, but as mentioned before, it may not always work as desired. If you find yourself wanting to switch back, simply return to the same section within the Settings app and toggle Smart Invert off.

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Sameed Khan

I write, game, design at times, and revel in sarcasm. You can find me on Twitter.