WWDC 2014 keynote (Yosemite light mode 001)

There were lots of oohs and aahs in response to Apple’s software engineering chief Craig Federighi showing off a new dark UI mode in OS X Yosemite at WWDC two weeks ago. It basically alters the appearance of the menus, sliders, buttons, windows and other UI elements.

The gorgeously subdued look is inspired by the dark appearance of Apple’s pro software such as Aperture and Final Cut Pro. In fact, I like it so much that I enthusiastically tweeted right after the keynote that I was very much looking forward to using it on a permanent basis come this Fall.

However, dark mode was notably absent from the first beta of OS X 10.10 and is nowhere to be found in the just-released Beta 2. For a good reason, too, as it’s unfinished and very much work in progress so not really ready for prime time yet.

If you’re a type of person who can’t wait to see it in action, you can enable Yosemite’s dark UI using just a simple Terminal command…

Finder’s regular light UI mode can be seen top of post.

Below is what the new dark mode looks like.

WWDC 2014 keynote (Yosemite dark mode 001)

Though officially unavailable in Beta 2, you can unofficially turn it on via a simple Terminal command discovered by iOS developer Hamza Sood.

Here’s how to turn dark mode on and off in the second Yosemite beta.

How to enable Yosemite’s dark mode using Terminal:

Launch Terminal using Spotlight or by firing it up from the Applications folder and paste the following line:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences AppleInterfaceTheme Dark

Type in your administrator password to execute the command. Quit Terminal, restart your Mac and voilà – you should launch straight into Yosemite’s dark mode.

How to disable Yosemite’s dark mode using Terminal:

As I told you, the somewhat functional feature is rough around the edges and not really ready for prime time yet. Luckily, you can just as easily revert back to light mode by pasting the following line into Terminal:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences AppleInterfaceTheme Light

Again, upon providing your administrator password and restarting the machine, light mode will be re-enabled.

OS X Yosemite (dark mode, Hamza Sood 001)

It’s awfully nice that the Dock participates in dark mode as well.

My guess is Apple will eventually add a light/dark mode switch to the General pane of System Preferences. Yosemite’s smoky eye look should come in handy for getting some work done or whenever you need to fully concentrate on the task at hand.

It’s really indispensable when you must focus on the centre of the screen without being distracted by bright menus, dock and other UI elements. I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned that gorgeously done dark appearance is a reason alone to upgrade to Yosemite.

Will you be using dark mode in Yosemite?

More of a bright UI type of a person, aren’t we?

  • Anthony Snyder

    “It’s awfully nice that the Dock participates in dark mode as well.”

    I smiled for a second 🙂

  • If only the things on the right side of the menu bar were white too. You can hardly see the items now.

    • Alborz

      patience 🙂

    • Jamie Tilden

      You can see in the keynote screen shot that the final product will highlight your menu bar items white.

  • Brian May

    Would be a nice tweak for ios 7 docks too!

    • I’ve always wanted a “Dark” version for iOS. Specially since iOS 7 came out, it never really made a lot of sense how the Black iPhone had such a stark white interface. I mean, it works, but it’d be great to have the option.

      • Brian May


      • rockdude094

        At night while texting or even reading articals, I enable the inverted colors. Everything is perfect for night time, but is a pain in the bum to see inverted images.

      • Mike Chu

        There’s a tweak called “Eclipse” that adds a dark mode for iOS, it’s .99c on one of the default repos 🙂

      • Chris Longden

        I just wished they had built Flux into iOS8, that’s perfect as it changes the colour temp to make it easlier on the eyes at night.

  • Join the Darkside, we have cookies, red lightsabers and lot’s of work apps.

  • Jonathan C.

    Where can I get that background (the very first one on this page)

  • Jonah Heeren

    This can also be streamlined without the restart by running “killall Finder; killall Dock”.

  • Indian Food

    Anyone notice how the keynote wallpaper is different with the one in the beta?

  • Wesh

    Is it now possible to (universally) resize menubar item text? Because it’s not in all previous versions, and when using an 27inch imac and wireless keyboard from afar, menus are hard to read.

  • MacGuru17

    Yes, I will indeed be using dark mode.

    I don’t plan on ever turning it off.

    • Chris Longden

      I agree, I’ll be doing exactly the same.

      • MacGuru17

        I’ll have to deal with it on a normal MacBook display for now, but I think it will look absolutely brilliant once I get a MacBook Pro w/ Retina.

  • Terminal not recognizing pass. Hmm. BTW; anybody able to get Continuity to work?

  • Blip dude

    Bring it to iOS 8, then we’ll talk!!

    • Biscuit

      Was thinking the same thing. Would love it that option on iOS 8!

  • Technocrz!

    This thing isn’t bringing the right Dark mode, icons with clock are all black, as they should turn white or silver, the time this option will be ready system wide apple will roll in upcoming betas, we still have two months till final release, patience people.

    • I hope it will be a little more usable on next beta! 😀 But I believe windows will be too dark translucent, no?

  • The Pfhor

    I turned it on and so far I like it!

  • Why not add an automated mode for night/day ? At 20:00pm, I want to use dark mode, and at 7:00am, light mode. A little like “don’t disturb mode”…