What you need to know
- WhatsApp has rolled out dark mode for iOS and Android.
- Android 10 and iOS 13 users will be able to use the system-wide dark theme to control the setting.
- Users of Android 9 and below will have to use an in-app setting to toggle the theme,
WhatsApp is finally joining the dark theme train for iOS and Android, rolling out an update to users of both operating systems today. The firm had been working on the update for just over two years now, with users finally getting access to the new feature in beta a few months ago.
As for why it took so long, WhatsApp didn't just want to flip the switch and turn their app from light to dark. They prioritised two factors while working on this update:
Readability: When choosing colors, we wanted to minimize eye fatigue and use colors that are closer to the system defaults on iPhone and Android respectively.
Information Hierarchy: We wanted to help users easily focus their attention on each screen. We did this by using color and other design elements to make sure the most important information stands out.
It's probably up to the users to decided just how well they succeeded in both of these. Some users would have preferred WhatsApp offered an OLED dark theme for phones like the iPhone 11 Pro and the Pixel 4 XL, but it still looks regardless. If you're on Android 10 or iOS 13, WhatsApp's dark theme is controlled via the setting that sets the system-wide dark theme. If you're on Android 9 and below, you'll still get dark mode, you just need to dive into WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Theme > and select "Dark" to enable it.
The update is available immediately from the respective app stores.