Screenshots shine light on iOS 10’s new dark mode


Dark mode in action in the Messages app.
Screenshots: Andrew Wiik

New resources discovered in Apple’s first iOS 10 beta confirm the company is developing a new dark mode. One developer has been able to active the interface inside the iOS simulator using a simple tweak.

Apple has already given us Night Shift mode to make our iOS devices more comfortable to use around bedtime, but darker interfaces that are easier on the eyes are still more preferable to some. They’re great for OLED displays, too.

Unlike the LCD displays Apple currently uses, OLED displays — which are thought to be coming to next year’s iPhone 8 series — sap less power when displaying black images. That means using a darker interface results in better battery life, which is why watchOS is so dark.

It makes sense to develop a dark mode for iOS in time for that iPhone upgrade, then — and resources found in iOS 10 reveal that’s exactly what Apple’s doing. The images above from jailbreak developer Andrew Wiik show that interface in action in the Messages app.

“Andy found a reference to CKUIThemeDark inside of ChatKit,” explains iDownloadBlog“He wrote a quick tweak that forced ChatKit to use the dark theme over CKUIThemeLight. Then he loaded it into the simulator, which shows off the new mode.”

Dark mode can also be activated in other parts of iOS, but it’s clearly not ready for use yet; some elements are difficult to see when the darker interface is in use. That’s almost certainly why this is still hidden for now, and Apple isn’t allowing developers to activate it easily.

Dark mode could be available inside later iOS 10 betas, or Apple could save it for iOS 11 and the iPhone 8. We’ll have to wait and see what future betas bring.


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