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Lights Out: Chrome OS Dark Mode draws near

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Google’s developers have been working diligently on creating “Dark Mode” for all the things and the latest update to the Developer channel of Chrome OS brings us one step closer to a system-wide black out of all things Chrome. Much of the work is focused on bringing a Dark Mode to the web that will automatically convert any and all web pages based on the user’s default theme in the operating system.

In Chrome OS, a number of flags made their way to the Developer channel that not only enable Dark Mode for the web but add a dark theme across the OS without the need for Google’s or third-party theme extensions. Initially, the “dark mode” in Chrome was fairly rough around the edges as developers were still working out the kinks of how to handle the massive undertaking of converting entire webpages to the dark theme without them looking like they were simply in high contrast mode which blows out images. Here’s a look at how far development has come in the past few weeks.

The above image on the right is without any custom styling on our part. Chrome is doing a relatively good job of inverting the proper colors and keeping items on the page distinguishable without blowing out images and losing text and styles. With the flags enabled, the Dark Mode also carries over to the new “tab strip UI” as well as the system menus.

If you have a device in the Developer channel, you can check out Dark Mode by navigating tochrome://flagsand searching for the following flags.

Force Dark Mode for Web Contents
Tab Outlines in Low Contrast Themes
Prominent Dark Mode Active Tab Titles
Security interstitials dark mode

Depending on your website, you may want to add some custom styling for when Dark Mode is enabled. Subtle backgrounds, for example, may look great in white but not so much when dark mode is enable. You can learn more about how to add styling for Dark Mode inthis informative article from Thomas Steiner on Web.dev.

Chrome for Desktop has been implementing bits and pieces for dark themes for some time but these latest updates are good indicators that Chrome and Chrome OS will soon be very adept at handling dark mode across the board. There’s still some fine tuning to be done but overall, this looks great to me and I’m excited to see it land in Stable so I can go fully lights out on my Chromebook.

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