macOS mojave dark mode

MacOS Mojave brought with it a slew of new features, the most striking of which is a system-wide dark mode that applies to all native Apple apps and compliments Apple’s Night Shift to ease your eyes late at night.

How to Turn On Dark Mode

The option for Dark mode is in the System Preferences app, which you can open from the Dock, your Applications folder, or by clicking the Apple icon at the top of your screen and selecting “System Preferences.” When you’re there, click on “General.”

system preferences general tab

At the top of the window, you’ll see the toggle between light mode and dark mode. You can click either one to switch to the corresponding mode.

system preferences dark mode toggle

There’s another feature to set here: the accent color. This will determine the color of buttons and any highlights in native apps. Surprisingly, setting the accent color to “Graphite,” the gray color, makes dark mode slightly darker. It changes from a bluish-gray to a flat gray color, which you may prefer.

Graphite accent is darker than other accents

Unfortunately, this also makes all the accents very dull, which does look a bit strange, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to get this flat black color without using the Graphite accent.

How to Enable Night Shift

Night shift changes the color of your display to seem warmer (more orange) at nighttime since prolonged exposure to overly blue light can strain your eyes. If you usually stay up staring at your screens, it might be worth giving this a try to save you a literal headache.

Open the “Displays” category in System Preferences.

system preferences displays settings

Under the “Night Shift” tab, you’ll find an option to enable it from Sunset to Sunrise. This will turn on Night Shift when the sun goes down, and turn it off when you wake up.

system preferences night shift

Apple didn’t invent Night Shift though. It actually comes from an old app called f.lux, which is designed to do the same thing. f.lux is still being updated and has a lot more features and controls than Apple’s built-in option, including the ability to set two different levels for Sunset and Bedtime.

If you’d like to use f.lux instead of Night Shift, it’s free to download, and works on any OS.

Enable Night Mode at Sunset (or With a Shortcut)

NightOwl automatic dark mode settings

If you’d like to take it a step further, you can set a schedule to automatically enable dark mode when it’s getting late with an app called NightOwl. Just install the app, and from the icon in the top menu bar enable “Sunrise/Sunset” to use the same schedule as the built-in Night Shift. You can set specific times as well if you’d like.

NightOwl should launch on startup and stay in the menu bar. You can quickly enable or disable dark mode with the NightOwl option in your menu bar or with a hotkey—Command+^ is the default. You can even select specific apps to have dark mode enabled while keeping others in light mode.

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Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
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