How to enable YouTube’s secret dark mode

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How to enable YouTube Dark Mode
YouTube's hidden Dark Mode is perfect for late-night video consumption.
Screenshot: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

YouTube is testing a Dark Mode design, which can be toggled on and off once you activate it.

If you’re watching videos late at night, Dark Mode is super-useful to help avoid straining your eyes — plus, it just looks cool. Find out how to enable YouTube Dark Mode it in the video below.

Adding a “dark mode” is a big UI design trend right now. You can darken the Dock and Menu Bar on the Mac, Apple TV went shadowy in tvOS 10, and everybody’s waiting for iOS to add a dark mode.

How to turn on YouTube Dark Mode

The dark look makes perfect sense for YouTube. Here’s how to make it happen.

Note: The easiest way for this to work, you need the latest version of Google Chrome and you must be logged into a Google or YouTube account. While it does work within other browsers, this can be more difficult.

1) Open Google Chrome and go to the YouTube website. Then bring up the Developer Tools window by hitting Option + CMD + I on your Mac. (If you’re using Windows, access the developer window by pressing CTRL + SHIFT _ I.)

2) Once the developer window is open, click on the Console tab. At the command prompt, type or paste in the following code:

document.cookie="VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=fPQ4jCL6EiE".

3) Hit Enter to process the code, then close the developer window and refresh the YouTube page.

4) On the YouTube homepage and channel pages, you should notice a slightly modified design. Click on your profile icon in the upper right to bring up a new list of options.

5) Click on the Dark Mode button. You’ll then find a toggle, similar to those in iOS’ Settings app, that lets you switch on YouTube Dark Mode. Toggle it on, and white pixels on the YouTube page will turn black.

6) To revert back to YouTube’s normal display, just toggle off Dark Mode.

How YouTube Dark Mode compares to normal

I love the look of YouTube’s Dark Mode. Videos stand out against the black background, and I also find the surrounding text and buttons less distracting. (You can compare the normal YouTube look with Dark Mode in the slider above.)

YouTube Dark Mode is still in testing and hasn’t been officially revealed. Working with the dev console can be finicky, so follow the directions carefully. YouTube’s Dark Mode reportedly also works in Firefox and Edge browsers (although we couldn’t get it to work in Safari).

Hopefully, we’ll see this become a standard feature in the near future and make its way to other web browsers.

P.S. While you’re on YouTube, go to the Cult of Mac channel and hit Subscribe to stay up-to-date with the latest videos as soon as they drop!