How To Enable Dark Mode/Theme In Windows 10

Windows users have long asked for a dark visual style that is native to the operating system. Custom themes with darker color tones have been around for awhile, but as they skin elements of the UI that aren’t natively skinnable, one has to jump through a couple hoops to get them working. A vast majority of the Windows user-base is most likely unaware that these custom skins exist, while many who do stumble upon them would likely opt to stay away given the inconvenience involved.

Thankfully, with the rollout of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, that is all in the past. Users can now switch to a dark interface with just a few clicks, using options built right into the operating system’s personalization settings. Just so you don’t have to search for the feature yourself, we’re going to guide you to it below.

Here’s what you need to do.

1. Open the Start menu and click the cog-shaped icon to launch the Settings app.

2. Within the Settings app, navigate to Personalization > Colors.

3. Scroll down to “Choose your default app mode” and switch the setting to Dark.

That’s all there is to it! Windows should now show dark backgrounds in stock and third-party UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps that support the Dark app mode. The dark theme won’t, unfortunately, be applied system-wide. To put it simply, switching the “app mode” only affects certain apps that you install from the Windows Store as well as most built-in ones, such as the Settings, Mail, and Calculator apps. It doesn’t extend to the File Explorer or any third-party apps built upon the Windows API.

The screenshot below shows VLC’s Universal Windows Platform variant alongside the stock Calculator app with default app mode set to Dark.

Update: With Windows 10 October 2018 Update, Dark mode will also apply to Explorer windows, with window frames being dyed in black and the rest in dark-grayish tones that are quite easy on the eyes. A possible improvement to this could be the option to choose between applying the theme to UWP apps, Explorer, or both, and customizing the tones used in the Dark theme.

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Sameed Khan

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