How to Enable the Apple TV’s Dark Mode, Manually or Automatically

When it’s after dark and the lights are out, the last thing you want is to be blinded by the bright white of your Apple TV’s home screen when your movie ends. Here’s how to enable dark mode on the Apple TV to make your late-night TV escapades more enjoyable.

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Dark mode is a feature that was introduced in tvOS 10, but you had to manually enable or disable it, which has led me to just keep dark mode enabled all the time for convenience. However, I do enjoy the light user interface during the day. Thankfully, with the release of tvOS 11, you can have the change happen automatically.

To do this, start by opening up the Settings app from your Apple TV home screen.

Select “General”.

Click on “Appearance”.

Select either “Light”, “Dark”, or “Automatic”. The last option is great if you want the best of both worlds.

If you do select Automatic, a pop-up will appear letting you know that this feature will also enable Location Services and Automatic Time Zone. To confirm, select “Turn On Both”.

Automatic dark mode will now be enabled. So during the day, the user interface will be light in color, and at night it will automatically change to dark. Then come morning time, it will change back to light.

The bad news is that apps are completely separate from the Apple TV’s menus. So if there’s an Apple TV app that has a particularly blinding white theme that you wish you could make darker, that’s something you’ll have to take up with that specific app developer. In the mean time, though, you can at least make the menus of your Apple TV more bearable, and many apps are slowly introducing dark mode to go along with this sleek new look.

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.