Chrome forcing dark mode on Google's home page.

Chrome 78 has a new trick up its sleeve. It can forcibly enable dark mode on every website you visit, putting an end to those blinding white backgrounds on your nice dark desktop.

Update: As of Chrome OS 78, this flag apparently causes serious problems on Chrome OS. Don’t try it if you’re using a Chromebook or you’ll need to reset Chrome OS afterward.

This is a Brute-Force Solution

Google Chrome already has a built-in dark mode. Websites can automatically switch to dark mode if you’re using it, assuming the site supports this. But most websites don’t have automatic dark mode—or any dark mode.

Rather than waiting for millions of websites to jump on the dark mode bandwagon, Chrome’s new “Force Dark Mode for Web Contents” option will turn all those bright websites dark. It’s a little like using “Smart Invert” on an iPhone—light colors will turn bright, but it’ll leave images alone.

This is a brute-force solution, and it won’t be as pretty as waiting for websites to enable their own shiny new dark themes. But it’ll turn the web dark everywhere. Previously, you could download and install browser extensions that automatically turned light websites dark. Now, it’s built into Chrome.

Google Chrome forcing dark mode on How-To Geek's homepage.

Enabling this option won’t turn on dark mode on Chrome—for that, you’ll need to enable your operating system-wide dark mode option. For example, on Windows 10, head to Settings > Personalization > Colors and select “Dark” under Choose Your Default App Mode. On macOS, activate dark mode from System Preferences > General.

RELATED: How to Enable Google Chrome's Dark Mode on Windows 10

How to Force Dark Mode on All Websites

Want to try it out? This option is available as a hidden flag in Chrome 78. Like all flags, it’s an experimental option that may change or be removed at any time. It one day may graduate to a proper option on Chrome’s Settings screen, or it may vanish completely.

To find it, type “chrome://flags” into Chrome’s Omnibox and press Enter.

Search for “Dark Mode” in the search box at the top of the Experiments page that appears.

Finding the "Force Dark Mode for Web Contents" flag.

Click the box to the right of “Force Dark Mode for Web Contents” and select “Enabled” for the default setting.

Enabling forced dark mode for website in Chrome's experiments.

Click “Relaunch” to relaunch Chrome. Chrome will close and relaunch all your open web pages. Be sure to save any content on those pages—for example, things you’ve typed in text boxes—before relaunching the browser.

Relaunching Chrome after enabling a flag.

Browse and see how it works. If you don’t like it, head back to Chrome’s Experiments screen, change this option back to “Default,” and relaunch the browser. Chrome will stop messing with website colors after you disable this option.

You can also try other Force Dark Mode options. The different modes will products different results on web pages. Some of them will even invert light images, turning those images dark. This will make images look different, of course, but it may be convenient if you want a consistently dark desktop.

Don’t feel compelled to use dark mode if you don’t like it. Dark mode is trendy, but it may not actually be better for you. Despite that, we love dark mode anyway.

RELATED: Dark Mode Isn't Better For You, But We Love It Anyway

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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