We’ve been so focused in on when we will finally see a proper dark mode on Chromebooks that we never really saw the need for a light mode. I found a commit for this weeks ago, but I wasn’t completely sure what to make of it. Android Police published an article and made some mock-ups of what light mode may look like, but we figured it best to wait and see what exactly Google was up to before jumping in.
As more talk has surfaced around a possible light theme, it all began to make more sense. If Google put out a proper dark mode for Chromebooks, switching it on would only really affect a few things. After all, the default look of Chrome OS is already basically dark mode. Sure, some settings need to change, but the app drawer, settings tray, and the shelf all already carry a dark theme. For many users, this would likely be confusing as they turned dark mode off and most elements didn’t change color. So, to get to the point where there’s a legit dark mode, you really need a light mode.
Back before Chrome OS 70, the entire system really was a lot more bright. The tray, shelf, and notifications were all lighter in color and had they left that alone, we would’t be in this current situation. As it stands now, however, we clearly need a light mode before we get a true dark mode, so Google is getting along in making that happen.
The guys over at 9to5 Google were able to get a dark/light toggle working in Chrome OS Canary (we can’t get it to work on our end yet) and the results are pretty sweet looking. As you can see in the images below, the launcher, quick launcher, tray and shelf all make the move to a lighter overall color and I really like the aesthetic of it all.
slide to see the difference light mode makes (image credit: 9to5 Google)
Other parts of the UI with light mode (image credit: 9to5 Google)
This is all clearly an early effort and there are small things that need attention, but they are tiny details, really. Overall, this light mode looks clean, modern, and attractive. Honestly, just as something new and different to look at, I’ll probably have my devices in light mode for a little while just to give my eyes and brain something new to look at. There’s no timeline for when this will appear in the Stable Channel, but we’ll obviously be keeping a close eye on all things light/dark mode as it seems we’re finally on the cusp of this feature arriving sooner than later for Chromebooks.