Here’s how to enable iOS 11 dark mode called Smart Invert feature on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch device.
One of the features that Apple was expected to add to iOS as part of the initial iOS 11 beta that was released to developers yesterday was a new dark mode. While iOS has had the ability to have its colors inverted as part of an accessibility option for a long time now, a true dark mode has been longed for on a more aesthetic basis, and it was hoped that iOS 11 would bring such a feature to the iPhone and iPad. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but there may be a middle ground between Invert Colors and and a full dark mode that will suit some people.
To that effect, a new addition to iOS 11’s Settings app takes the existing Invert Colors option and adds an alternative called Smart Invert. While the Classic Invert option is the version we are familiar with – where everything looks like a negative, with all colors essentially swapped for their polar opposite, making white into black and vice versa – the Smart Invert option does the same thing, but tries to make the whole experience less jarring.
For example, according to Apple, Smart Invert will not reverse the colors of “images, media and some apps,” which means things like app icons and photos are not impacted. However, things don’t always behave as you may expect and elements like album art in Music still looks weird, as does the Siri interface, but as this is a beta, we expect these things to change in time.
Whether app developers will need to bake things into their apps or iOS needs to get smarter about what it is doing when Smart Invert is selected remains to be seen, but in the absence of a “real” dark mode, this does show some promise for the future.
If you want to turn Smart Invert on, you will obviously need to be running iOS 11, but assuming that’s taken care of:
Step 1: Fire up the Settings app and navigate to General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Invert Colors.
Step 2: Tap the Smart Invert option.
And there you have it. A dark mode of sorts on iPhones and iPads which actually looks pretty good.
It will be interesting to see if Apple will make it better and call it dark mode by the time iOS 11 is ready for primetime to go with OLED iPhone 8, which is expected to launch this fall.
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