For a long time, dark mode has been a feature request favored by Chrome OS users. Although the operating system uses the “light” theme by default, it randomly scatters some dark elements, including launchers and shelves.Last month, I explained in detail Bringing consistency to the current “light” theme will improve usability, But there is no time to release the real system-wide dark mode information. Of course, the launcher search bar has dimmed recently, but what people want is to turn off the lights and minimize eye strain when using the computer for a long time. Google’s developers realized this, so they decided to do something about it.
As recently discovered in the Chrome OS Canary channel, Google is bringing system-wide dark themes back to your Chromebook.If you want to try it, you can copy and paste chrome: // flags/#enable-force-dark with chrome: // flags/#enable-webui-dark-mode Go to the URL bar and enable the two tags from the drop-down menu.To make Chrome OS darker, I also recommend enabling chrome: // flags/#dark-light-mode. Quickly view the final result.
The dark theme is suitable for Chrome and system web applications.
Once the operating system has applied these flags, we can immediately see the difference. Browsers and system applications will be converted to a smooth, close to black color, which is very suitable for the default theme. Unlike other apps, the title bar of the wallpaper picker matches the dark aesthetic and looks the brightest. Some parts of the UI are still unthemed, but overall, the new themes look more beautiful than when they briefly appeared a year ago.
Why dark themes are important
About six months since then Microsoft has launched a complete dark theme Windowswith Apple’s macOS has this feature With Mojave a few years ago. Some of you may remember that Google tried to introduce it to Chrome OS, but unfortunately this situation forced its release for a long time.
More than a year ago, Google launched chrome: // flags/#force-dark-mode The version in Chrome 78, which forces web content to use a dark theme on all platforms. Although this flag works well on Windows, Android and macOS, Enabling it on Chrome OS will cause the web page to crash. To make matters worse, the Chrome logo, file manager, and Chrome OS settings page fails to load, which means you cannot restore the logo to its default value and access the file. You are forced to power clean your device, which wipes everything stored on the Chromebook. Google immediately pulled the logo in the patch update and never saw it again. We know it is still under Google’s attention, But we are not sure when we will return. In the latest Canary update, Google looks comfortable enough to allow users to test it again.
When working behind the screen for a long time, adding system-wide dark mode to Chrome OS will make a huge difference. Although light themes generally provide better usability and readability due to higher contrast, the reduced brightness of dark themes can provide safety in dim environments and reduce eye strain. The last part is an important reason why application and web developers often use black backgrounds when staring at long code lists. Most video streaming apps like Netflix also use dark UI to relax your eyes when scrolling through content lists.
Personally, using dark themes allows me to easily write my long-term research tasks at school, especially at night. Although black text on a white background can help me study and read the content on the screen, my eyes started to become heavy after watching the display for a long time, which broke my attention. There is no dark theme on Chrome OS, which is why I work on the Windows desktop at night, but this update changes that.
The dark theme of the entire system is still in the early stages of development and requires a lot of work to be put into the Chrome OS Stable channel. For example, in many applications and screens, the title bar remains white. You can also apply a custom dark theme from the Chrome Web Store, but you cannot fix the white title bar. In addition, various UI elements have not yet been adapted, such as some icons in the Chrome OS settings page and illustrations of the Explore application. The biggest thing missing is support for Android applications, but I think it will be implemented when Google upgrades the subsystem to Android 11 (should be soon). I hope that one day Google will have a dark theme with a similar dark start screen.
Despite the great development, I am very happy that Google has finally solved the problem of “Where is the Chrome OS Dark Mode”. Whether using themes to minimize eye strain or beauty, introducing system-level switching to Chrome OS will undoubtedly change the way we work on Chromebooks.
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