What Is Dark Mode? Should you use it?


Can there ever be anything more irritating than watching your favorite movie in the cinema with scores of folks around browsing on their mobiles phones with their screens brightly lit? Or worse still, trying to sleep in the company of folks who believe in texting with their gadget lit to the maximum?

These are but two scenarios where for once you felt what if…. the screen emitting all the light could suddenly turn black and the black fonts turned light (or white) allowing everyone to do their respective businesses without disturbing others!

Welcome to the world of electronic gadgets with screens that—in the dark—emit so much light that one is left with no option but to either wear special spectacles or change mode. As for changing mode, most prefer the dark mode when the screen goes dark (compared to the normal white), and fonts turn white for the contrast to make things viewable and readable.

Dark mode may sound dark, sexy, and mysterious but in realty refers to something quite basic from the time that computers had CRT screens – when the surrounding screen was either black or yellow against which the text was always in white. And it wasn’t limited to only CRTs but also further. Remember the old calculator screen?

While the surrounding screen was all dark, the numerals were always in bright green! Contrast couldn’t get any better than that! And while it all appeared truly futuristic (a la Star-Trekish), it did strain the eyes quite a bit, and most of all, consumed battery-power worse than a glutton. With technology, things changed, and we had LCD and then LED screens.

In the latter, which is in use today, the screen has two layers of LEDs, one white and other colored. When there’s nothing to show, the screen is white and when there is, it takes space in individual colors on the white screen. All the technology notwithstanding, most of us still prefer to see things in extreme light which could bother others immensely.

And now we speak of going back all the way to the dark mode! That said, it’s ONLY the color that shall go black. As for the rest, including gadget hardware, things would remain the same as before.

Does going down the dark mode street help?

Going dark mode does have its share of plusses including:

  • Saving enormous quantities of battery charge! Smartphones are just that, seriously smart. And like the seriously smart, they run themselves into the ground with relative ease given the kind of demands that apps and systems make on it. Charging once a day isn’t good enough. What is needed additionally is the use of technologies that help keep battery consumption low throughout the day.
  • Saving the eyes! Strain from the bright white light and blue light can impair vision badly. Besides causing frequent headaches, it’s said to cause dryness and irritation in the eyes.
  • Saving our sanity! Blue light that most screens emit is said to stimulate our brains positively with the result that we do not feel sleepy, hours after working. The unintended consequence of such a situation is that we remain awake for longer periods of time.
  • Saving the sanity of those with visual impairment or light sensitivity! Those with certain conditions of the eyes cannot read or view things with very bright lights that most gadgets emit. The dark mode is thus truly helpful to them!
  • Saving the sanity of your near and dear ones! Not everyone’s happy when you take the comp or mobile phone to bed or browse in the darkness of a cinema. For this reason, the dark mode comes in really handy. You get to see what you want to while the rest stay happy the way they are.

Going dark mode has its minuses too including:

  • Remember those good-ol’ days when CRT screens had ONLY two colors? Was it interesting? Not in the least as the contrasts could strain the eyes badly besides causing dryness, itching and fatigue. Try reading a longish article in dark mode and see how cool it feels!
  • Given that Dark mode came to obviate the problem that people faced in the dark, the dark mode itself was the problem when ambient light came back to normal! With such low (practically zero!) backlight, nothing can ever be visible on the screen! Reverting to normal bright backlighting is the only option.
  • Power-saving in dark mode can ideally be accomplished ONLY with the latest mobiles. The previous generation mobiles available a few years back can’t do much.

And how do you go about installing Dark Mode?

  • They come built-in! iPhone updated to iOS 13 or Android 10 onwards, phones come with built-in Dark Mode feature. You only need to hit the setting or use the installed app and do as directed. With the inclusion of a timer, you have the best of both worlds, dark and lit!
  • Download apps! Phones before the above-mentioned models have to have dedicated apps or controlled manually. Dark mode apps abound on the playstore.
  • The above situation more or less is what exists with respect to tablets and PCs!