Recently, Google’s Messages app has become an important cog in the Android ecosystem. That’s because, for the time being, it’s one of the only texting apps which supports RCS Universal Profile for iMessage-style conversations. Even better, Google just gave it a highly sought-after feature: dark mode.
Because so many phones use OLED displays, dark mode can save battery life, as these screens consume less power when displaying dark colors since each pixel emits less light. It appears Google won’t ever give us a true system-wide black theme. However, the next best thing is adding the feature to individual apps, and due to its high usage, one of the more important apps to include this feature is Messages (formerly Android Messages).
Step 1: Update (Or Install) Messages
If your phone doesn’t come preloaded with Google’s Messages app, you’ll need to install it from the Play Store. Even if your phone came with Messages, make sure it’s up to date. The app is free and is one of the best apps for text messages, as it’s one of the few which supports RCS messaging.
- Play Store Link: Android Messages (free)
Step 2: Enable Dark Mode
Now, enabling dark mode will be really easy. Open the app and select the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner. Choose the option “Enable dark mode” and the colors will flip, with text becoming white and the background switching to dark gray, perfect for your OLED panel.
Messages isn’t the only Google app to receive the dark mode treatment recently. Others, like the Phone app and Contacts app have dark mode now as well, so stay on the lookout for future dark mode guides.
This article was produced during Gadget Hacks’ special coverage on texting, instant messaging, calling, and audio/video chatting with your smartphone. Check out the whole Chat series.
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Dark mode is gaining popularity across many sites and apps, but some locations on the web still stick to a light theme. Night Eye is an extension that intelligently converts the light themes of websites into dark themes. It does much more than just inverting color schemes and the end result is impressive.
It isn’t perfect but is something you have to try if you want a more universal dark theme across your device.
Night Eye is available for free on Microsoft Edge.
Bringing darkness everywhere
Night Eye doesn’t just invert blacks and whites. It analyzes each website you visit and decides how to implement a dark them. This results in attractive dark modes that maintain websites’ design languages much better than basic inversions. The downside is that this can take a bit of time. In my experience, websites took longer to load the first time I opened them with Night Eye active. Subsequent visits seemed faster, but the lag of opening each new site is noticeable.
Night Eye has a number of customization options that allow you to tweak individual webpages or every site you visit. You can pick a specific color and choose what Night Eye converts it to. In the website above the hamburger menu and titles were changed into a blue-ish purple. I selected that color and had the choice to map it to any color including the site’s original gold or white to give it a nice contrast.
Some websites don’t work perfectly with Night Eye, or you might just want to leave them in light modes. For this, you can either have Night Eye do nothing on that site or you can adjust brightness, contrast, blue light, and other characteristics of the website.
Faults and issues
I’m very impressed by Night Eye, but it isn’t perfect. I’m not exactly sure how the app works but it feels like it maps out each website you visit. As a result, the first time you visit a website with Night Eye on is very slow, particularly if the website has a lot of complex elements.
In a similar vein, some websites just don’t quite work with Night Eye unless you’re willing to do a lot of tweaking. The extension does offer custom color mapping, so you could match up every single element of a site to what you’d like, but that’s a lot of work for each site that requires it.
Most of the sites I visited work well, including YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and Windows Central. But the CMS to edit articles on Windows Central struggled to be converted to a dark theme much more than browsing the site to read content.
Night Eye is a great addition to Microsoft Edge. It’s base level of conversion to dark themes is impressive and you can customize pages or turn off Night Eye for pages that don’t quite work.
While it’s not quite perfect, it feels like it got faster after pages were analyzed the first time. My ultimate goal is to have dark mode across everything I use, and Night Eye is a big player in accomplishing that goal.