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How to use Instagram dark mode with iOS and Android

Switch to Instagram dark mode on your iOS or Android device and you'll reap a range of rewards - from protecting your eyes to saving power

A finger in the process of pressing the Instagram icon
(Image: © Shutterstock)

Instagram dark mode is one of those features that's well worth learning how to use. Not only does that darker palette offer more immersive viewing of images and videos, it also comes with a range of other perks that will make your life better and easier. If you're keen to head on over to the dark side, this guide will show you how. 

Regardless of whether you have the best iPhone or one of the best Android phones, it's super simple to use Instagram dark mode. And trust us, making the switch is well worth it. As well as making images and videos pop like never before, dark mode considerably reduces the bright light that so many of us are exposed to throughout the day, which means you'll experience far less eye strain, especially at night. 

A move to the dark side is sounding pretty good right now, right? Well, the benefits don't stop there. Switching to Instagram dark mode isn't purely worth it for the aesthetics. Dark mode tends to use up a lot less battery than regular mode, especially if you have a smartphone with an AMOLED screen like the Google Pixel 6 or one of Apple’s new iPhone 13 models. This type of panel turns pixels completely off when they’re displaying black, lowering its power consumption. 

Having less of your battery used up is a lifesaver for those of us who spend a lot of time scrolling through images and watching videos. While the savings won't blow you away, it's true what they say about mobile devices - every minute counts. So, whether you're looking to protect your vision or you're wanting to save power, it's clear that Instagram dark mode brings a range of benefits to the table that make switching over a no-brainer.

To help you do just that, we've compiled a handy set of instructions to guide you through the process of setting up Instagram dark mode on your iOS and Android devices. It's not hard to do either, so the whole process will be quick, simple, and totally painless. And if you're wondering how to repeat the process with Google Chrome or WhatsApp, check out our guides to how to get Google Chrome dark mode on iOS, Android and Windows and how to use WhatsApp dark mode on iOS and Android

Instagram's dark mode for iPhone

Turning on Instagram dark mode for iPhone (Instagram isn’t optimized – or may never be optized – for iPads) isn’t very hard to do. If you have an iPhone running iOS 15 or you've recently upgraded to the iPhone 13 Series, these steps will allow you to change its system settings and use Instagram in dark mode.

  1. Open your phone's settings
  2. Select 'Display and brightness'
  3. Tap 'Dark' to change the theme
  4. Launch Instagram

Instagram dark mode for Android

Enabling Instagram dark mode for Android is just as simple. To enable it for phone running Android 12, simply follow these four steps:

  1. Open your phone's settings
  2. Scroll down to 'Display'
  3. Activate the 'Dark theme' toggle
  4. Launch Instagram

How else can I save battery life in Instagram?

Switching to Instagram dark mode may be an energy-saver, but if you’re on it all day long, you’ll have to find other ways to extend your battery life. Luckily, there are other steps you can take to conserve a little more extra juice. If Instagram is draining your phone's battery, you’ll want to know them.

To keep you scrolling, Instagram pre-loads images and videos, but you can limit this behavior. Tap the menu icon at the top right of the app, then tap the settings icon at the bottom. Tap 'Account', followed by 'Mobile data use' and toggle 'Data saver' on.

This will prevent videos loading in advance, so they'll only be downloaded when you choose to play them. It's unlikely to have a huge effect, but if you regularly find your battery down to its last 10% with no charger in sight, every little bit helps.

Daryl Baxter
Daryl Baxter

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.