How to Make Mac Dark Mode (4 Easy Ways)

Apple added dark mode to Mac during the OS X 10.10 update named Yosemite. Yosemite came out in 2014 before Apple even changed OS X to what’s now known as macOS. Dark mode has been in every version of macOS since.

There are many reasons why someone might prefer dark mode. It’s gentler on the eyes, especially in low-light conditions. It can also make your screen a bit less distracting by focusing on content rather than the user interface. Sometimes, you may even prolong your battery life just a bit.

Back in the day, you needed a third-party app to have a dark theme for Mac. Nowadays, you can just use built-in features to enable Mac OS dark mode. In some versions of macOS, you can even set your mode to auto — more on that below.

In this guide, we put together in-depth, step-by-step instructions on how to make Mac dark mode in four easy ways. We also discuss how to switch to dark mode in older versions of macOS. Let’s get right to it!

Step-by-Step Guides: How to Make Mac Dark Mode

If you’d like to learn more about how to turn on dark mode on Mac computers, the step-by-step guides below can help.

How to Get Dark Mode on Mac Using System Preferences

Here’s how to turn on dark mode on the MacBook Pro, Air, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini using macOS Ventura, which is the latest version of the operating system.

  1. Open your System Settings by using your top menu bar or Spotlight (the magnifying glass on the right-hand corner of your top menu bar or the cmd + space shortcut).
Open the system settings
  1. Once system settings is open, navigate to Appearance. In the appearance panel, you’ll see the Light, Dark, and Auto modes at the top of the window.
The appearance settings on macOS
  1. Select dark mode, then exit the window.

If you are on macOS Monterey or Big Sur (older versions still supported by Apple with updates) or any version after OS X Yosemite, follow the guide for enabling dark mode on older OS versions below.

How to Enable Dark Mode on Mac Using the Control Center

You can easily switch dark mode on and off on your Mac via the control center if you have macOS Big Sur (or later). Here’s how you can access the MacBook dark mode setting in your control center:

  1. Click on the icon on your menu bar that looks like two stacked sliders. You can see it in the screenshot below.
Toggle on or off dark mode
  1. Once you’ve clicked on the icon to open the Control Center, click on Display.
Change the display brightness
  1. In the next panel, click the Dark Mode icon to toggle it on or off.
Turn dark mode on on a mac

This method is one of the most convenient ways to toggle dark mode on MacBook Air (or any other Mac running Big Sur or later). However, if you are running macOS Ventura, going through System Settings can be almost just as simple — it may take just one more click.

Enable the Mac Dark Theme Using Siri

Apple made it possible to use Siri to turn the dark theme on from macOS Big Sur onwards. If you want to use Siri to turn dark mode on, here’s how:

  1. Activate Siri by saying “Hey Siri” or clicking on the Siri icon on the right of the top menu bar.
Open up Siri
  1. Tell Siri a command like “dark mode” or “turn dark mode on.”

How to Change Mac to Dark Mode Automatically

If you have macOS Catalina (2019) or later, you can set dark mode to go on automatically. Auto mode essentially allows you to use light mode during the day and dark mode at night to protect your eyes in low-light settings.

Here’s how to switch to auto mode in macOS Ventura:

  1. Open System Settings using the Apple icon on the top menu bar or spotlight (cmd + space bar or the magnifying glass icon on the right side of the top menu bar).
Open the system settings on your mac
  1. Click on Appearance. In the following panel, select Auto.
Change appearance automatically

How to Switch Between Light and Dark Mode Quickly

If you have macOS Big Sur or later, you can easily switch between light and dark mode using your Mac’s Control Center. Follow the steps below:

  1. Open your control center by clicking on the icon on the right side of your top menu bar. The icon looks like two stacked slider buttons.
Toggle on or off dark mode
  1. Click on Display.
Change the display brightness
  1. Click on the Dark Mode button to activate or deactivate dark mode. When deactivated, your Mac will be in light mode.
how to make mac dark mode

You can follow the steps below if you have a Mac running older versions of the macOS operating system.

Related: How to Copy and Paste on Mac

How to Enable macOS Dark Mode on Older OS Versions

If you’re using older versions of macOS, follow the steps below.

OS X Yosemite – macOS High Sierra

  1. Open System Preferences using the Apple icon on the top menu bar or via Spotlight.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Tick the box for Use Dark Menu Bar and Dock.

macOS Mojave to Monterey

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Under Appearance, choose Dark.

Note that you can also select Auto from macOS Catalina onwards.

How to Make Your Mac Even Darker

If your Mac’s native dark mode isn’t dark enough for you, you can use a third-party app like QuickShade to make it even darker. QuickShade puts a translucent dark overlay on your screen to darken everything. It’s entirely free and is easy to operate from your Mac’s menu bar, as seen below:

Enable shade in the menu

The only downside is this method will dull colors on your display. It’s not everyone’s preferred method, but it’s a great quick solution when you want a dimmer screen.

How to Turn Off Dark Mode

Turning dark mode off is super simple — just follow the steps you used to turn it on but in reverse! That means you can ask Siri to turn light mode back on, toggle dark mode off in the control center, and select light mode in your System Settings (or Preferences).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Dark Mode on an iPhone?

Yes, you can! You can choose between the Light and Dark modes on the iPhone and iPad. You can also set it to auto. Just go to your Settings, then navigate to Display & Brightness. Right at the very top, you’ll see Light Mode, Dark Mode, and Automatic. Choose the setting you prefer!

Conclusion

The days of needing a third-party app to put your Mac in dark mode are long gone. Dark mode is now a feature baked right into macOS, making it easy to activate when needed. With dark mode, you no longer have to deal with blindingly light user interfaces and design elements if you don’t want to. Even your screenshots will feature the dark mode UI!

We hope that this guide on how to make Mac dark mode was helpful to you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!

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Chriselle has been a passionate writer for over 10 years, working with many publications worldwide. She currently writes for Productivity Spot, The Grad Cafe, and Hackr.io, among others.

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