24th April 2019
Guilherme Rambo’s exclusive for 9to5Mac has seemingly confirmed something I’ve wanted for a while: Dark Mode on iOS.
the long-awaited Dark Mode is finally coming to the iPhone and iPad with iOS 13. There will be a system-wide Dark Mode that can be enabled in Settings
We’ve had Dark Mode on macOS since Mojave landed late last year, and Apple Watch has always had a dark interface.
Consistency with Mojave is one thing, but the Apple Watch presents a more compelling reason for iOS to move to a dark interface: OLED.
OLED screens work by the individual pixels omitting their own light, rather than there being a whole-of-screen back-light lighting up the pixels. That means that a pixel isn’t turned on when its colour is black, so blacks are actually black, not the colour black with a back-light.
Newer iPhones (namely the X, XS and XS Max) have OLED displays and OLED looks like the future, even if Apple have put a lot of effort into the rounded cornered LCD screens on the XR and new iPad Pros.
With the iPhones X, Apple introduced a ‘notch’ at the top of the phone, where the front-facing camera, Face ID sensors and speaker live. There was the usual press and Twitter furore about this design choice but, in reality, it’s not something I notice in general use.
That said I do know it’s there, and it’s a design compromise I’m sure Apple are endeavouring to do away with once they’re able to without it being cost prohibitive.
As compromises go, though, Apple has really made the best of the notch (for example, they use the ‘squircle’ rounding method, rather than straight lines with rounded corners); it’s a nice notch!
So some of the reason I don’t notice it is because it’s elegant, fitting nicely with the rest of the phone’s design. But there’s more: I cheat! I use a black wallpaper for both my Lock Screen and Home Screen, so the notch is surrounded by turned-off pixels, meaning it’s difficult to see where the screen ends and the notch begins. But when I open an app it’s there. Not intrusive, but there.
A black UI in every app would mean you don’t know where the notch starts and stops in-app, so it becomes even more of a non-issue. Unless you’re watching a video or looking at a full-screen photo, but that’s going to be an issue until they’re able to remove it completely.
OLED works beautifully on the Apple Watch – there’s some distance between where the screen ends and the edge of the glass; thanks to the OLED and cunning use of the UI, it feels truly edge-to-edge.
A black UI throughout iOS would have a similar effect as there’d be no obvious line at the edge of the screen, as there is at the moment where the white UI of, say, Mail meets the black bezel where the glass curves round.
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