Google has been busy adding new features and polish to the best Chromebooks. Distinct dark and light themes have been in the works for a while, and now they’re finally rolling out.
The current ChromeOS environment on Chromebooks is a mix of light and dark elements. Google has been testing distinct light and dark modes for several months, which were accessible by toggling the #dark-light-mode flag in the ChromeOS flags. The feature is now rolling out to everyone, without the need to dive into the flags menu.
Google said in a blog post, “The ‘light’ theme keeps things bright and airy, while ‘dark’ makes for easy reading at night or in low light, and can help conserve power. You can choose to keep your laptop on one theme all the time, or choose “auto” to have your Chromebook automatically transition from light to dark when day turns to night. Bonus: some new wallpapers are made for both themes, so your wallpaper will subtly shift from light to dark, too.”
The new light theme looks much like the default Windows 11 theme, while the dark option is closer to the previous universal design. The system theme even applies to websites, so if you switch to dark mode and the site you have open offers a dark theme, the site will also switch automatically. The Chrome browser has been able to respond to system theme changes on macOS 10.14+ and Windows 10/11 for a while, so it’s great to see the option finally arrive on ChromeOS too.
Google also mentioned some of the wallpapers can update based on the current theme, which is a feature we’ve started to see on other platforms over the past few years. Wallpapers with light and dark themes were added in iOS 13 for iPhones and iPads, macOS 10.14 Mojave on Mac, and Windows 11. However, Chromebooks won’t gradually fade the wallpaper throughout the day, like on macOS.
The only catch right now is that Android applications from the Google Play Store don’t switch to dark theme. The new toggle is rolling out as part of ChromeOS 104.