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How to use Instagram in dark mode with iOS and Android

The easiest way to switch to Instagram's darker theme

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

Instagram dark mode has been around since 2019, and it’s here to stay. Enabling users to move away from the platform’s usual white interface on your smartphone to a much darker palette that’s even better and more immersive for viewing images. You’ll also experience less eye strain with Instagram’s dark mode, especially at night, thanks to the reduced glare.

There’s also another reason for switching to dark mode – it’s not purely aesthetic. White pixels require a lot more power than black ones, and if you use Instagram a lot, you’ll want to do whatever you can to squeeze the most battery life out of it that you can. And, if you’re using one of those phones that come equipped with an AMOLED screen, where black pixels turn off completely, this will make an even bigger difference. 

Whether you’re planning on upgrading to the Google Pixel 6 or one of Apple’s new iPhone 13 models, you’ll want to make the switch to dark mode as soon as you have your new phone in hand. Here’s how to use Instagram dark mode with iOS and Android. 

Instagram's dark mode for iPhone

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

To enable Instagram's dark mode for phone running Android 11, 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?

If Instagram is draining your phone's battery, there are other steps you can take to conserve a little extra juice.

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 helps.

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 iPad. If you have a story about a newly-updated app or one that's about to launch, drop him a line.