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Next version of Android might finally get a dark theme

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Android is about to get... darker.
Android is about to get… darker.

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

Programmers, night owls and dark lords have been asking for a system-wide dark theme on Android since forever, and it seems Google has finally listened. 

Android Q, which is currently in the very early stages, has a built-in dark theme — and several other interesting new features — according to XDA Developers.

According to the report, the early Android Q variant that XDA managed to run on the Google Pixel 3 XL has a “fully functional system-wide dark mode,” which can be enabled in the Display Settings by choosing “Set Dark Mode.” Once enabled, it turns all the menus in Android to a pleasant white-text-on-dark-grey-surface color scheme.

This includes Settings, Launcher, Files, the volume panel and third-party notifications (note that some of Google’s apps, such as YouTube, already have a dark theme). There also seems to be an option that appears to enable dark mode for apps that don’t have this option, turning pretty much everything dark (even Facebook, though that particular app does not respond too well to this and looks wonky in certain places). 

This is what the "dark theme" looks like on Huawei's Mate 20 Pro. Android Q's idea of dark theme is a bit lighter, though.

This is what the “dark theme” looks like on Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro. Android Q’s idea of dark theme is a bit lighter, though.

Image: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

Some Android makers have their own version of this — for example, Huawei’s Mate 20 pro has a similar feature, and I love it. And even if you don’t care about the visuals, note that dark mode saves your battery, as it takes a lot less light to show dark grey than white on an LCD screen. 

Other new features spotted in Android Q include restricting certain permissions, such as location, to work only when the app is in use, as well as a desktop mode, perhaps similar to Samsung’s DeX

Android Q is still in its early stages and it’s quite possible that some (or all) of these features won’t make it to the final version, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that they do. 

For a detailed overview of the new features in Android Q, check out XDA’s post over here

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