WhatsApp has announced it is finally rolling out ‘Dark Mode’ to its 1.5 billion users.
The new feature will give users the option to turn the background of their app interface from white to black to make it easier on the eye.
Users on Android 10 and iOS 13 can activate dark mode by enabling it in system settings, although the feature is also available for users on Android 9 and older.
It’s designed to reduce eye strain in low light environments and is set to ‘help prevent those awkward moments where your phone lights up the room’.
WhatsApp claims that Dark Mode is the most requested feature from its users worldwide.
Dark Mode for WhatsApp offers ‘a fresh look on a familiar experience’ and is designed ‘to reduce eye strain in low light environments’
‘We know we took our time, but we wanted to make sure it was right,’ the Facebook-owned app said.
‘We hope everyone enjoys Dark Mode, which is rolling out in the coming days on the latest version of WhatsApp.’
WhatsApp claims it has spent time ‘researching and experimenting’ with Dark Mode, with a particular focus on readability and ‘information hierarchy’.
The result is designed to minimise eye fatigue and uses colours that are closer to the default dark modes on Android and iOS.
HOW TO ACTIVATE DARK MODE
For Android 10 and iOS 13 users who have already switched their OS to Dark Mode, WhatsApp will automatically change.
Android 10 users can go into WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Theme > select ‘Dark’.
For users of Android 9 and below, they can enable the feature in the same way.
iOS 12 users or below will have to update to iOS 13 to get Dark Mode.
Dark Mode is rolling out in the coming days on the latest version of WhatsApp.
It has also made use of colour and other design elements to make sure the most important information stands out.
WhatsApp replaced the green phone icon on its social media channels including Facebook and Twitter with a black equivalent in the buildup to the announcement.
Dark Mode, which has become popular with late night social media users, is already available on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Gmail and system-wide applications on Android and iOS.
On iOS and Android, dark modes can change otherwise white menu screens to black and can even activate dark modes in other apps automatically when switched on.
Aside from being more aesthetically pleasing to some, dark modes are also designed to be much easier on the eyes by reducing the glare of bright artificial light.
WhatsApp updated its social media channels with a new, black logo in anticipation of the rollout of dark mode
Dark modes also consume less energy via the device’s display, making them more battery efficient.
However, there’s a chance that dark modes only serves to keep people on their phones longer throughout the night, missing out on sleep.
‘In a darkened room, the darker colours of dark modes could be perceived as less jarring and lull people into spending longer using the app,’ Aneesha Singh, professor of human-computer interaction at UCL, told Wired.
Dark Mode was tested on WhatsApp for beta users on Android devices back in January.
Dark Mode has been available on the Facebook Messenger app since last year, and the social media giant is reportedly in the process of rolling out the feature to its website.