How To Turn on iPhone & iPad Dark Mode (#1 Easiest Method)

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 01/21/21 •  5 min read

Yep, the iPhone and iPad FINALLY have Dark Mode. You can thank iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 and above for that. Fans have clamored for a dark mode in iOS for years and it’s finally here–and it looks stunning. Announcing the feature when Apple unveiled iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 in 2019, Apple said:

“Dark Mode introduces a dramatic new look for iPhone. It’s thoughtfully designed to make every element on the screen easier on your eyes and is seamlessly integrated throughout the system. And it’s simple to turn on from Control Center or set to automatically turn on at night.”

What Is Dark Mode On The iPhone & iPad?

How To Turn on iPhone & iPad Dark Mode (#1 Easiest Method)
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Simply put, Dark Mode on iPhone and iPad turns all the white or bright elements of the iPhone’s user interface into black or dark elements. These elements include things like scroll bars, headers, the backgrounds of emails and apps (which are normally white), and even transparent elements, like the Dock and Control Center take on a grey appearance.

Dark Mode on phones and other devices is nothing new. Macs have had dark modes for a few years and so has Android. And some apps even offer a dark mode by themselves.

But the iPhone’s Dark Mode makes everything uniform. It brings a consistent “dark” look across the operating system and apps that have built-in dark mode support.

Why Do People Like The iPhone’s & iPad’s Dark Mode?

Put simply: it looks badass. Or at least that’s what many people think. Dark Mode gives a completely new look to your iPhone and iPad–with many saying the mode brings an elegance or professionalism to the iPhone that the regular white/light mode of iOS lacks.

But there are other benefits to dark modes. Studies have shown that dark modes can preserve battery life. This is because the smartphone’s display doesn’t need to use as much brightness–and thus battery power–to illuminate the screen using dark modes as they do light modes.

Also, many people report dark modes being easier on their eyes. People who get headaches looking at their screen should give dark modes a try to see if it makes looking at their iPhone and iPad less aggravating on their eyes.

How To Turn on iPhone & iPad Dark Mode (#1 Easiest Method)
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What iPhones Support Dark Mode?

Dark Mode is supported on any iPhone that can run iOS 13 or higher. These iPhones include:

Dark Mode is also supported on any iPad that can run iPadOS 13 or higher. These iPads include:

But while Dark Mode will run on any of the iPhones and iPads listed above, keep in mind that Dark Mode will look better on the iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. That’s because those iPhones have OLED displays, which are much better at displaying blacks on screen.

How To Enable Dark Mode On The iPhone

There are TWO ways you can enable Dark Mode on iPhone. Here’s the first:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Display & Brightness.
  3. On the Display & Brightness screen under the APPEARANCE header, tap Dark. This will instantly set your iPhone to Dark Mode.
  4. Additionally, there’s a slider under this setting titled “Automatic.” Turn this slider on (GREEN) to have your iPhone automatically adjust between light and dark mode. The iPhone will default to light mode during daylight hours and dark mode at night.

But there’s an even simpler way to activate Dark Mode:

  1. On your iPhone swipe up from the bottom of the screen (on iPhone 8 or older) or down from the top of the screen (on iPhone X and later) to get to the Control Center.
  2. In the Control Center, look for the button that looks like it’s got two circles inside each other. Simply tap this button to toggle Dark Mode on or off.

How To Turn on iPhone & iPad Dark Mode (#1 Easiest Method)
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How To Enable Dark Mode On The iPad

How To Turn on iPhone & iPad Dark Mode (#1 Easiest Method)
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There are also TWO ways you can enable Dark Mode on the iPad. Here’s the first:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Display & Brightness.
  3. On the Display & Brightness screen under the APPEARANCE header, tap Dark. This will instantly set your iPad to Dark Mode.
  4. Additionally, there’s a slider under this setting titled “Automatic.” Turn this slider on (GREEN) to have your iPad automatically adjust between light and dark mode. The iPad will default to light mode during daylight hours and dark mode at night.

The second way to activate Dark Mode on iPad is even simpler:

  1. On your iPad swipe down from the top of the screen to get to the Control Center.
  2. In the Control Center, look for the button that looks like it’s got two circles inside each other. Simply tap this button to toggle Dark Mode on or off.
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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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