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Google Pixel Launcher will soon let you manually toggle its dark/light theme

Google's Pixel Launcher is one of the best Android launchers around, and with the launch of the Pixel 2 last year, it introduced a feature that enabled a dark theme when applying certain wallpapers. Now, Google's going to give you manual control for toggling it.

Spotted by the fine folks at Android Police, a Googler recently responded to a thread on the Google Issue Tracker from a user requesting a light and dark theme toggle in Android P, saying:

We have added support for a Dark theme to be applied to quick settings and launcher under Settings -> Display -> Device Theme. It will be available in a future Android build.

It's unclear what the "future Android build" will be, and while we could see this added as soon as Android P Developer Preview 4, we should get it by P's public release at the latest.

I love the current implementation of the Pixel Launcher's dark theme being tied to your wallpaper, but even so, it's going to be really nice to have the freedom of choosing when it is and isn't applied. Also, with Google putting this under a new "Device Theme" section, might we see even more themes added down the road? Speculate away in the comments below.

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Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

30 Comments
  • Yay we get to have a proper dark mode theme for the Pixel launcher.
  • Imagine not even having a Dark Mode in 2018 lol
  • Thaaaat's Google! I miss Windows phone... I never owned it used one, but still lol.
  • This has only been in the preview of the last 3 versions of Android. Glad Google will finally uncomment that 1 line of code to enable the dark theme.
  • It's a good start... Now make that dark theme system wide and bring back substratum and I'll probably buy a pixel.
  • Liar
  • What makes you say that? It's the main reason I won't consider a pixel.
  • Wow so the only reason you won't consider a Pixel is for an app called Substranturn? Can I ask if this Substranturn so sort of launcher? And what is so special about this app?
  • No, the reason I won't get a pixel is the light system theme. It really annoyed me when Google ruined my Nexus after KitKat and i had to install a custom ROM. Substratum is the reason I likely won't upgrade to Android P. It's a theme app, it allows you to install custom themes to change the colour of many elements. For example, my notification shade and YouTube app are black. It's one of the most powerful apps on Android. It used to be the reason I rooted, and in Oreo they introduced rootless support. So, for the last year, and the first time ever, I've been unrooted with a locked bootloader. Android P breaks support completely, even for root. This is my story lol.
  • Damn sounds like a really interesting app I must try this Substranturn, hopefully Substranturn will eventually work with Android P so I totally understand your reasoning.
  • It is, and it's"substratum". It means an underlying layer... Big in geology and archeology.
  • I see that's very interesting to know.
  • Google needs to give the option of a dark theme for all their stuff. Their non-negotiable stance of everything having to be retina destroying white is just plain silly.
  • Yes, reminds me of Apple... A company I despise because of all the crap they force upon you. Google is supposed to be anti-apple!
  • All this retina destroying , eyes bleeding crap is hilarious. Turn your brightness down
  • Yep or use the built-in night light feature in O or install a screen warming app from the play store.
  • THIS. It's definitely annoying.
  • Many launchers will give you 99% of what a system wide dark theme will give you.
    How do you visit websites if your eyes are so easily damaged?
  • First, that's simply not true. The notifications shade, phone, dialer and Google apps are WAY more than 1%. Second, Firefox and the Samsung browser both have extensions that theme web pages dark. Don't judge the internet on how Google Chrome wants you to interact with it.
  • I can't argue as it's not something that bothers me.
    My point was I thought you could get a dark theme with apps.
    I have seen apps in the store that claim to do most of these changes if not all.
    But if that's not the case I'll shut up.
  • Yes! If only Google knew the power of the dark side.
  • I don't own a Pixel so I'm hoping someone can fill me in: can you set the Pixel dark/light themes to trigger based on local sunset/sunrise times? I only ask because I really appreciate the Night Mode feature (with local enhancement) of Nova Launcher.
  • No
  • You can set Night Mode, which just changes the color temperature to be easier on your eyes, based on sunrise/set, but not the theme.
  • I think it would be a good idea if this where tied into a timer, like with the blue light filter.
  • Systemwide dark mode or bust.
  • That's a tough one... I REALLY want, need, a system wide dark theme, but who doesn't love a nice bust?
  • Just use Nova Launcher kids...
  • Wait... I am confused. In Pixel launcher settings or the Android System settings? *Fingers crossed for system settings*
  • Only pull down quick settings . Notifications and system settings still all white.