Android 15 will let you force apps to go dark, even if they don’t support it

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Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Android 15 may introduce a new “make all apps dark” feature that forces apps without a native dark theme to go dark.
  • Android 10 introduced support for a system-wide dark mode, but apps still need to have their own dark theme.
  • Some apps still don’t have a dark theme, like Fitbit or Amazon Shopping.

People seem to really, really love enabling dark mode in apps. In fact, when we ran a poll back in early 2020 to find out how many of our readers use dark mode on their phones, an overwhelming 81.9% of respondents said they enable it wherever it’s available. Google introduced support for a system-wide dark mode toggle back in Android 10, and today, most popular apps have a dark theme that follows the system toggle. However, there are still a few holdouts that haven’t added a dark theme. Thanks to a new feature in the upcoming Android 15 update, you’ll be able to force these apps to go dark, even if they don’t have a built-in dark theme.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

In the Android 14 QPR2 Beta 2 update released in January, Google hid a new “make all apps dark” toggle under Settings > Accessibility > Color and motion. This toggle, which wasn’t visible by default at the time (and still isn’t as of the latest Android 15 Beta 1.2 update released earlier today), seems similar to the existing “override force-dark” toggle that’s been under Settings > System > Developer options since Android 10. However, during our testing, we found that “make all apps dark” works in more apps than “override force-dark”, suggesting that the existing developer opt-out no longer works and that the underlying force-dark algorithm is different.

Android 15 make all apps dark

Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority

The existing “override force-dark” option, as Google explains in its developer docs, is intended as a “feature for developers to quickly implement a dark theme without explicitly setting a DayNight theme.” It works by analyzing “each view of your light-themed app and applies a dark theme automatically before it is drawn to the screen.” However, apps “must opt-in to Force Dark,” which naturally means they can opt out of it as well.

While many apps don’t opt out of “override force-dark,” there are some that do, which leaves “color inversion” under Settings > Accessibility > Color and motion as the only user-facing option to force apps dark. Enabling color inversion inverts all colors on the screen, though, which can mess up things like photos and app icons.

The new “make all apps dark” toggle, though, doesn’t mess up images as it seems to work similarly to the existing “override force-dark” toggle but with some additional under-the-hood changes to make it affect more apps. Plus, the “make all apps dark” toggle is tucked under accessibility settings rather than developer options, meaning it’s intended to be a user-facing feature.

Here’s a gallery that compares the UI of several apps without a built-in dark theme in their original state, with dark mode plus “override force-dark” enabled, and with dark mode plus “make all apps dark” enabled. As you can see, “make all apps dark” isn’t perfect, as it still reduces the contrast of certain buttons, but it does handle certain apps like Fitbit and Orangetheory much better than “override force-dark.”

Although the “make all apps dark” feature isn’t available yet in the latest Android 15 beta update, I’m guessing it’ll go live in a future beta release. Android 15 Beta 2 is set to be released during Google I/O 2024 next month, so that could be when this feature goes live. After all, this feature was added back in January and is already fully functional, so we’re just waiting for Google to switch the flag that controls its visibility.

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