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How to use Facebook dark mode on desktop, iPhone and Android apps

How to get dark mode on desktop, Android and iOS

Facebook dark mode
(Image: © Shutterstock)

Update: There appears to be an issue with Dark Mode for iOS and Android being disabled for some users. We are tracking these developments as we wait for further confirmation from Facebook around the issues.

After an agonizing wait, Facebook dark mode has finally rolled out for the desktop, and work on a dark mode for iPhone and Android is finally underway.

Facebook dark mode is a new look for the social network that replaces its usual bright, white interface with black and shades of gray for both desktop and mobile. It's a small change, but an important one for many users.

It's a refreshing alternative to the standard color scheme, but that's not the only reason many users are looking forward to making the switch. Some people find white text on a dark background much easier to read, and although the jury is out on whether cutting down on blue light actually helps you sleep better at night, a darker interface certainly reduces glare when you're using the app after dark.

There's a potential benefit for your phone's battery, too. Researchers from Google have found that pixel color has a direct effect on power draw, with black pixels using significantly less energy than white ones. This is particularly true for devices with AMOLED screens, where pure black pixels are actually switched off. Swapping Facebook's bright, white interface to something darker could therefore help your mobile devices last noticeably longer between chargers.

It's worth bearing in mind that the look of Facebook dark mode might change before it's rolled out worldwide, or in response to feedback afterwards. The company has made some minor adjustments to WhatsApp dark mode since its release, adjusting contrast levels, and may do the same for other apps.

With that in mind, here's how to experience the dark side of Facebook on desktop and mobile devices.

Facebook dark mode for desktop

Facebook rolled out a new design for its desktop site earlier this year, including an optional dark mode. It took a long time for the new design to be rolled out to everyone, but in October 2020, the process was finally complete.

To access Facebook dark mode for desktop, simply click the menu button at the top right (a downward-pointing arrow), select 'Display options', and then use the switch to toggle dark mode on.

Facebook desktop dark mode

(Image credit: Facebook)

If you preferred the old-style Facebook layout and chose not to switch to the new version when given the option, you can still get a similar experience by using Google Chrome to 'force' dark mode on Facebook. The effect isn't as slick as the official dark mode, but it's similar.

First make sure you have the latest version of Chrome. If you're not sure, open the main menu, select 'Help' and then 'About Google Chrome', and the browser will find and install any available updates automatically.

Now visit chrome://flags/#enable-force-dark in the address bar, and change the first drop-down box you see from 'Default' to 'Enabled'. You'll be prompted to re-launch the browser, so make sure you save any work first.

Google Chrome force dark mode

(Image credit: Google Chrome)

When Chrome re-opens, you'll find that every site you visit, including Facebook, now has inverted colors where appropriate. It's not yet perfect (sometimes white parts of images are turned black incorrectly), but it works quite well overall.

To change back, simply return to chrome://flags/#enable-force-dark and change the setting back to 'Default'.

Facebook dark mode for iPhone and Android

It was a long time coming, but dark mode is also available for Facebook on iOS and Android. To enable it, tap the menu icon at the top right of the app (for Android) or the three lines in the bottom right-hand corner (for iPhone) and select 'Settings and Privacy' (represented by a cog icon).

Here, you'll see the 'Dark Mode' option (with a moon icon). Tap this, and you'll see three options: on, off, and use system settings. The first two are self-explanatory, and the third will pick up whichever color scheme you've chosen for your phone's operating system.

Facebook dark mode

(Image credit: Future)

Dark mode is also available in Facebook Messenger. To activate it, simply tap your profile picture, then tap the 'Dark mode' switch.

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.