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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Dark mode for Facebook: everything you need to know

Dark mode for Facebook: everything you need to know

Dark mode for Facebook has been a long time coming, but it's finally started to arrive, letting you enjoy a more stylish social experience.

It's not just about looks, though – researchers from Google have found that pixel color has a direct effect on power draw, and black pixels use significantly less energy than white ones. Switching Facebook's bright, white interface to something darker could therefore help your mobile devices last noticeably longer between chargers.

The jury is out on whether bright screens (and blue light in particular) actually have a negative effect on sleep patterns, but white light can certainly be hard on your eyes at night – so if you tend to enjoy checking up on your friends before bed, choosing dark mode could mean more scrolling and less squinting.

Facebook dark mode for desktop

Facebook has started rolling out a new design for its desktop site, which includes an optional dark mode. If you're part of the testing group, next time you visit Facebook on desktop you'll see a notification informing you, followed by a prompt asking you to choose between light and dark designs.

If you're not part of the group, don't worry – the option is likely to be available worldwide soon, but in the meantime you can use Google Chrome to 'force' dark mode on Facebook. This doesn't look exactly the same as the official dark mode will, but it's not too far off.

First make sure you have the latest version of Chrome. If you're not sure, open the main menu, select 'Help' and then 'About Google Chrome', and the browser will find and install any available updates automatically.

Now visit chrome://flags/#enable-force-dark in the address bar, and change the first drop-down box you see from 'Default' to 'Enabled'. You'll be prompted to re-launch the browser, so make sure you save any work first.

Google Chrome force dark mode

When Chrome re-opens, you'll find that every site you visit, including Facebook, now has inverted colors where appropriate. It's not yet perfect (sometimes white parts of images are turned black incorrectly), but it works quite well overall.

To change back, simply return to chrome://flags/#enable-force-dark and change the setting back to 'Default'.

Facebook dark mode for mobile

Facebook's mobile app doesn't yet offer a built-in dark mode, but well-known app researcher Jane Manchun Wong has found evidence of its development, and we anticipate it might appear around the same time the new desktop design makes its official debut.

Until then, the only way to experience the dark side on your phone or tablet is to access the Facebook website in Google Chrome and use the same 'force dark mode' trick described above.

However, the option is already available in Facebook Messenger. To activate it, simply tap your profile picture, then tap the 'Dark mode' switch.

We anticipate a full Facebook dark mode for iOS, iPadOS and Android will arrive soon, and we'll keep you updated as soon as we know more. We've already seen the arrival of dark mode for Instagram, and dark mode for WhatsApp is on the horizon, so we expect it won't be long.

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