Over the past couple years, dark mode has been top of mind for many users. The reasoning behind this is varied and some would cite gains in battery life or comfort when viewing content in dimly lit environments as basis for the obsession with all things dark mode, but the more realistic explanation for the phenomenon feels more likely to be that it is simply a trend. A fad. A passing preference.
Regardless, dark mode looks like it is here to stay and is firmly planted deeply in many operating systems at this point. Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and others have all adopted a system-wide dark mode that flips most interactive elements to a darkened theme across the board. Additionally, apps that have dark modes tend to follow the system settings, so your experience across apps and many websites stays darkened while this mode is enabled as well.
As the trend has grown, we’ve been eager to see Chrome OS adopt a system-wide dark theme over the past year or so, but nothing has arrived as of yet. Perhaps some of the final app transitions over to the latest Material Design standards will help push things along on that front, but that’s not really the news of the day. Instead, one of the apps I use most frequently on any Chromebook I crack open has finally received the dark mode treatment earlier this month, and I totally missed it. WhatsApp on the web can now be flipped to a dark theme and, you know what? I kind of love it.
In my virtual desks layout, I have a desktop just for messaging. I’ll pop Gmail in there from time to time, but it generally has a window open for both WhatsApp and Messages at all times. Messages adopted a dark theme a long time ago and I’ve been using it ever since. Sat next to that far more modern-looking app, WhatsApp has just looked old, outdated, and stale. To make it worse, WhatsApp on my phone adopted a proper dark mode months ago and the web element has just been left without it.
No longer! Today, as I was going to switch up my background in the chat window, I noticed a new spot in the settings menu simply labeled “Theme.” Clicking in this menu, there are only two options: light and dark. Clicking the dark theme does exactly what you’d expect, darkening all the main elements of the app and lightening up the text. After doing this, I of course applied a dark chat background and voila! My WhatsApp PWA finally looks great and joins most of my other web-based apps in offering up a dark theme.
It got me thinking about a dark mode switch for Chrome Unboxed, too. Take a look at our other site Gaming Unboxed if you’d like to see what Chrome Unboxed would look like in a darker setting. While not everyone loves a dark theme, the option to have one is definitely nice and welcome for those that do enjoy and appreciate it. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of dark theme love/hate, you have to admit that options are always nice, and I’m very glad to see WhatsApp finally get this out to users who love and use web-based applications on the daily.