The Smart Invert feature is the closest thing yet to a true system-wide Dark Mode for your iPhone, iPad and iPod. With this new accessibility feature on iOS 11 and later, the operating system inverts colors of the user interface while keeping the original format and colors for content like your images in the Photos app, graphics in the App Store app and so forth.

Smart Invert is smart enough not to invert the colors of your wallpaper. However, colors of the Dock, iOS’s status bar and several other parts of the interface will get reverted in this mode.

iOS will do its best to detect content that shouldn’t be color-inverted, but don’t expect miracles.

As an example, Smart Invert will revert webpage colors in Safari, including any images and text, as well as cover artwork in the Music app, which doesn’t look good at all.

On the other hand, in Settings, Messages and several other stock apps this mode yields much better results. And for apps like Clock and Activity, the Smart Invert feature preserves their already dark interface without changing anything.

Before we get to it, it’s worth repeating that Smart Invert requires iOS 11 or later.

On older iOS editions, only the classic color-inversion mode is available for visually impaired users that simply reverts the colors of everything on the display.

Smart Invert: hands-on video walkthrough

Check out Andrew’s how-to video covering Smart Invert mode.

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Continue reading for the step-by-step instructions on using Smart Invert.

How to enable Smart Invert on iPhone and iPad

1) Launch the Settings app on your iOS device.

2) Tap General.

3) Tap Accessibility.

4) Tap Display Accommodations underneath the Vision heading.

5) Tap Invert Colors.

6) Slide the Smart Invert switch to the ON position to enable the feature.

“Smart Invert Colors reverses the colors of the display, except for images, media and some apps that use dark color styles,” reads the feature’s description.

NOTE: Enabling Smart Invert will turn Night Shift off.

To disable Smart Invert, slide the aforesaid switch to the OFF position.

The old Invert Colors option is still present, now renamed into “Classic Invert”. Name change aside, this mode still reverses the colors of everything shown on the display, like before, including images and other media.

As I mentioned before, Smart Invert isn’t perfect.

That said, best thing you experiment with Smart Invert to see for yourself how it works in your favorite apps. To access Smart Invert faster, set it as a triple-click Home button action in Settings → General → Accessibility → Accessibility Shortcut.

Taking screenshots while Smart Invert is on will produce normal screenshots.

This is by design—other Display Accommodations in Accessibility settings, as well as Night Shift, don’t apply on-the-fly image processing to the screenshots you take either.

Let us know your thoughts on Smart Invert by posting a comment below!

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  • Better than Eclipse, right?

    • Abhinav Chaudhary

      Nope.

      Jailboken iOS >>>>> Stock iOS

      • That’s pretty debatable.

      • jalexcarter

        HA! There’s no debate, jailbroken iOS will always trump Stock iOS. CallBar alone is reason enough to jailbreak. iCleaner Pro freed up over 12GB of memory on my iPhone. Native Screen Recording, which has been available to the jailbroken community for years which Apple FINALLY woke the hell up and added to the upcoming iOS. Plus themes, virtual home, BioLockdown adding an extra layer of security to any app you choose. iCaughtU Pro adding amazing security features. And just the freedom to customize your device to look and perform the way you want it to. The possibilities are as endless as they are invaluable.

      • If iOS wasn’t there, these wouldn’t exist in the first place. These are unofficial and can never complement the iOS experience.

      • jalexcarter

        Wow you’re totally right! A Jailbroken iOS wouldn’t exist without Stock iOS! Way to state the obvious, lol. And your point for bringing that up is what? And no, it doesn’t complement iOS because to complement it would be to make it perfect or complete. Jailbreaking doesn’t make iOS perfect, it makes it better, because it supplements the iOS experience, enhancing it to each end users personal preferences.

      • Y2J: Keeper of the List

        Dude has no clue what he’s talking about lol

      • Abhinav Chaudhary

        lol this is stupidest thing you could have said. It’s like saying if moon wasn’t there we could have never landed on the moon. It is and we did, iOS exist and jailbroken iOS >>>>> Stock iOS. I too use all those tweaks @jordan_carter:disqus mentioned in his comment. Call bar is a must must, android has it for years and Veexilum theme.

      • Abhinav Chaudhary

        Nope it’s not.

        Jailboken iOS >>>>> Stock iOS

    • MMA Rules

      No way, it’s not even close, first of all it kills Night Shift, black keyboard is weird, pictures are inverted in certain apps, etc, etc.

    • Jay

      No, a lot of images still show up with their colors inverted.. its a good start though..

  • Nice it seems to be good post..

  • Smeltn

    anyone have a good wallpaper that looks good with smart invert? Like that doesn’t really make the dock stand out or anything?

    • RobDigital413

      Why don’t you just invert a picture so when you turn on smart dark mode it looks normal

      • Y2J: Keeper of the List

        Because then whenever smart invert (not a dark mode) is turned off, it will look like garbage

      • No need for that because Smart Invert doesn’t revert the colors of your wallpaper

  • zombiebot

    the stock apps look nice, but any apps with photos look bad. They are all inverted. Eclipse was way better.

  • Y2J: Keeper of the List

    I don’t care what anyone says, this is not a dark mode replacement. Some stock apps look fine, but a lot don’t and all third party apps look horrible, as does anything with a photo (minus the photos app).

    • Swanny246

      As far as I know, apps will need to be updated to support it. Also we’re only on the second beta of iOS 11, so we’re still due for a lot of improvements with it. I’m sure it’ll get better – not perfect, I’m sure.

      • Y2J: Keeper of the List

        Hopefully it does. I just don’t understand why they can’t make an official dark mode identical to MacOS which is beautiful, although i do believe the Mac dark mode lacks support for Safari and Messages. Something along those lines though would be ideal for me