Chrome 78 can force dark mode on any website – here's how to try it

Google Chrome dark mode
(Image credit: Google; Shutterstock)

Google is rolling out Chrome 78 to Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS, and the latest version of the browser includes a raft of new options.

For fans of apps with dark modes, there is great news. Chrome 78 includes a new option called – perhaps unsurprisingly – forced dark mode. As the name suggests, once enabled, this option forces all websites to use darker tones, regardless of whether they explicitly support dark mode, or have their own dark theme.

This is an experimental option at the moment, so you will find no reference to it in the Settings menu; instead you'll have to enable the relevant flag within Chrome. Just pay a visit to chrome://flags/#enable-force-dark and choose an option.

You can opt for simply Enabled, or you can experiment with different method of dark mode implementation such as RGB-based color inversion, or CIELAB-based inversion. You may need to spend a little time with each to see which one works best for you.

Features, features everywhere

As exciting as this is, Chrome 78 is about much more than just a new dark mode option. If you're one of those users who tends to keep a large number of tabs option, you'll be aware that as tabs shrink to make room for more, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify sites. To help with this, Google has introduced Tab Hover Cards. These replace the popup that usually appear when you hover the mouse over a tab, and display more information in a clearer way.

On the security front, there is a new Password Checkup tool that will let you know if any of the passwords you sync with Chrome have been included in a data breach. While this is a great tool for peace of mind, Google has opted – for reasons best known to itself – not to enable it by default. You can turn it on by visiting chrome://flags/#password-leak-detection and setting the flag to Enabled.

Chrome 78 also sees the removal of the XSS Auditor feature as Google promised earlier in the year.

Experimentation is the name of the game

There's also an experimental feature that can be used to customise the appearance of the new tab page. To access this option, you'll need to enable both chrome://flags/#ntp-customization-menu-v2 and chrome://flags/#chrome-colors. Once enabled, you can personalize the new tab page with colors and themes.

Chrome 78 also includes a number of changes for developers such as the addition of CSS Properties and Values API Level 1 for greater control over page elements. There's an updated V8 JavaScript engine and Google is also testing out DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol to offer greater privacy by encrypting and hiding DNS requests from third parties.

You can grab Chrome 78 directly from Google, or just check for updates in the version you have installed at the moment.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

You can find her on Twitter and Mastodon.