In the Dark

I just updated my phone to iOS 13.1 and experimented with dark mode. Overall, it’s kind of meh for me.

M.G. Siegler, in his 5ish newsletter, pointed me to a story back in May about dark mode that I hadn’t seen. Adam Engst talks about Apple’s introduction to Dark Mode and then proceeds to rip it apart.

Unfortunately, Apple’s marketing claims about Dark Mode’s benefits fly in the face of the science of human visual perception. Except in extraordinary situations, Dark Mode is not easy on the eyes, in any way. The human eyes and brain prefer dark-on-light, and reversing that forces them to work harder to read text, parse controls, and comprehend what you’re seeing.

It may be hip and trendy, but put bluntly, Dark Mode likely makes those who turn it on slower and less productive. Here’s why, if you adopted Dark Mode purely because Apple promoted it as the new hotness, you should think hard about switching back to the Light Mode that your eyes and brain prefer in System Preferences > General.

Interestingly enough, I like it in places and not so much in others. For example, I use the Dark Mode in Feedly and Tweetdeck, but not in Notion. I would hate it in Instapaper and would never turn it on for Google Docs. Of course, Spotify is always in dark mode.

I appreciate white space, but sometimes having a dark mode is nice. Still, I don’t anticipate turning it on my phone for any significant amount of time.

October 1, 2019