How to enable the dramatic Dark Mode look on your Mac

MacOS Mojave Dark Mode

The September 2018 release of the macOS Mojave 10.14 software brought system-wide support for a fully functional Dark Mode to your Mac. This impressive feature creates a distraction-free working environment that isn’t just easier on the eyes, but also ensures that your own content, like photos and videos, is front and center.


  • Dark Mode finally comes to the Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14.
  • You can now choose between Light and Dark modes.
  • Dark Mode is great for minimizing distractions and focusing on your content.
  • It’s especially cool when working in poor-lit environments.
  • Unfortunately, you cannot schedule Dark Mode.

A dramatic new look

OS X Yosemite brought limited dark styling to the Dock, the menu bar and Spotlight Search.

Mojave’s Dark Mode has replaced that limited Yosemite functionality by turning the whole user interface dark, including your desktop wallpaper.

As a result, your own content, such as photos and documents, pops out in Dark Mode.

The Finder in Dark Mode on macOS Mojave

Dark Mode and Dynamic Desktop complement each other

If you tend to work on your Mac during the night or in a poorly-lit room, macOS Mojave’s new Dark Mode will definitely make staring at the screen easier on the eyes.

To see the stark difference between the familiar Light appearance and the new Dark look in Mojave, drag the interactive slider on Apple’s official macOS Mojave page.

macOS Mojave preview page with the slider allowing for a visual comparison between the standard Light user interface styling and the new Dark Mode

The Dark Mode theme can be found in the new Mac stock apps—Apple News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos—as well as in other system apps like Calendar, Finder, Mail and Photos.

The Apple News app shown running in the new Dark Mode on macOS Mojave

The Apple News app running in Dark Mode

We have put together a nice screenshot gallery for our readers who are curious to check out the cool dark styling in Apple’s own Mac apps, including Calendar, Finder, iTunes, Mail, Photos, Stocks, Home, News, Voice Memos and more.

Not all apps look good with a darkened appearance.

The Apple Photos app shown running in Dark Mode on macOS Mojave

TextEdit and Mail are both good examples.

Editing in TextEdit with a white background looks out of place. Similarly, text-only emails in Mail with white text set against a dark background are jarring to read.

Mail lets you switch between light or dark background for text-only emails

While macOS Mojave does provide customers with the option to switch between Light and Dark emails composer, there’s no similar option in the TextEdit app.

TUTORIAL: Using Dark or Light look in Mail for Mac

My biggest concern was that not all websites would look good with a dark hue, but Safari’s Reader Mode with its black background helps alleviate the issue.

And this is how Apple describes Dark Mode:

macOS Mojave users can switch to Dark Mode to transform their desktop to a darkened color scheme, putting the focus on user content while controls recede into the background. Users can toggle between a light and dark desktop, and built-in Mac apps like Mail, Messages, Maps, Calendar and Photos all include Dark Mode designs.

Here’s how you can switch on Dark Mode on your Mac with just a few clicks.

How to enable Dark Mode on your Mac

Do the following to have your Mac use a darker appearance.

1) Open System Preferences on your Mac.

2) Click on the icon labeled General.

3) Click the right image next to Appearance to switch on Dark Mode.

The General section of System Preferences lets you switch on Dark Mode in macOS Mojave

Conversely, you can switch back to the default Light appearance by clicking the left image.

Because Mojave’s Dark look has completely replaced Yosemite’s limited dark styling, you can no longer have a white interface with some dark elements, like the Dock and the menu bar.

Now, it’s either Light or Dark look.

Dark Mode and Dynamic Desktop

Starting with macOS Mojave, Mac customers can take advantage of an awesome feature that plugs nicely into Dark Mode, called Dynamic Desktop. It automatically changes a specially-crated desktop picture to match the time of day, as determined by your location.

TUTORIAL: How to use Nigh Shift for Mac

Found in System Preferences → Desktop & Screen Saver, Mojave’s two dynamic wallpapers gradually change the look of your desktop over the course of the day.

A screenshot showing a section of Apple's macOS Mojave preview page that explains the new Dynamic Desktop feature

To see this time-shifting wallpaper in action, visit the macOS Mojave webpage and scroll to the Dynamic Desktop section, then drag the slider to experience the effect.

Dark Mode in your favorite apps

Dark Mode works with built-in apps that come with your Mac.

Third-party apps can implement Dark Mode by taking advantage of an official API from Apple. If your favorite app won’t switch to its own dark look after enabling Dark Mode, contact its developer and demand that they support Dark Mode using Apple’s AppKit framework.

System Preferences using Dark Mode in macOS Mojave

Most major Mac apps will at some point support both Light and Dark appearances.

Are you liking Dark Mode?

What are your early thoughts on the new Dark Mode in macOS Mojave?

Is this awesome darkened Mac interface something you might consider using on a daily basis? Are you sticking with the Light look? If so, why?

Post your thoughts in the comment section down below!

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