YouTube has offered a cool Dark Mode for some time now to those who’ve had its Material Design look.
The setting creates an ideal night-time experience by turning the glaringly light surfaces of YouTube’s interface dark—and you can activate it with a few simple steps, too!
This tutorial details enabling and using YouTube’s Dark Mode in Chrome, Safari and other browsers, even if you currently don’t have the Material Design overhaul.
Before we get to it, make sure that you’re running Chrome 57 or later. To check the version number of your copy of Chrome, choose About Google Chrome from the browser’s Chrome menu.
How to enable Dark Mode on YouTube if you have Material Design
If you already have YouTube’s Material Design, you can turn on Dark Mode right from the drop-down menu that appears when you click your profile image on YouTube.
Dark Mode is a click away if you have YouTube’s Material Design.
See our tutorial to learn how to enable YouTube’s Material Design (it’s rolling out gradually), which lets you toggle Dark Mode from your profile menu in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera and other browsers.
Cannot get Material Design? Follow the steps below to turn Dark Mode on in Google Chrome 57 or later (hat tip goes to a resourceful Redditor who first detailed this trick).
How to enable YouTube’s Dark Mode if you lack Material Design
For that, you’ll need to use the Chrome browser until Dark Mode and Material Design have been officially rolled out to all users of YouTube on desktop.
1) Launch Chrome on your computer and be sure to log in with your account via YouTube’s Worldwide (US) interface at www.youtube.com/?gl=US.
2) Open Chrome’s developer tools:
- Mac: Press Command (⌘)—Option (⌥)—I on the keyboard.
- Windows: Press either F12 or Control—Shift—I on the keyboard.
3) Click the Console tab near the top of the developer tools window.
4) Paste the following line into the console, then hit Enter:
If that doesn’t work, try the following:
HINT: Paste the command exactly as you see it. Some publications incorrectly used curly quotes in place of single/normal ones, rendering the command useless.
5) Close the developer tools and reload the YouTube webpage.
6) Click your profile image in the top-right corner of the interface, select a Dark Mode item, then toggle the switch Activate Dark Mode at the bottom of the menu.
Kill all the lights and watch your favorite YouTube clips in night-time mode!
Dark Mode is available across all YouTube sections, including the homepage and the dedicated channel pages, sans Creator Studio which continues to use the white theme. To kill Dark Mode, just toggle that switch in your YouTube profile menu to the OFF position (if that doesn’t work, clear the cookies in your browser settings).
The command for activating Dark Mode without Material Design works in Firefox, too, but keep in mind that Mozilla recommends against changing the root path attribute as that leaves you open to hijacking attacks.
TIP: Download the Chrome extension “Magic Actions for YouTube” on Chrome Web Store which adds a handy switch for toggling day and night viewing modes. Another Chrome extension, “Dark Reader”, also creates a night-time environment on YouTube.
To reiterate: if you have Material Design, you should be able to toggle YouTube’s Dark Mode in Chrome, as well as in Safari, Firefox and other non-Google browsers.
As you’re seeing above, I was able to select Dark Mode in Safari from my profile menu on YouTube without resorting to any trickery, and it worked like a charm.
Have you tried YouTube’s night-time mode yet?
If so, do you use it for watching videos at night?