Google has reportedly added a toggle for dark and light themes that could be included in the next Android P build.
The toggle modifies already existing behaviour in the Google Pixel Launcher. With Android 8.1, the Pixel Launcher would adjust the theme of the notification quick settings and the app drawer based on the wallpaper. If you used a light wallpaper, you got the traditional white settings, app drawer and folder icons. A dark wallpaper turned all that black.
Someone submitted an issue tracker bug requesting a manual toggle for the feature earlier this year. The issue was marked fixed by a Googler yesterday afternoon.
Furthermore, the Googler wrote that it has added a dark theme toggle for the launcher in ‘Settings,’ under ‘Display.’ There will be a new option there called ‘Device Theme.’ “It will be available in a future Android build,” writes Google.
It’s also not clear at this time whether this will remove the existing automatic toggle or not.
While this isn’t a full system dark mode that many users are hoping for, it is a step towards one. Dark mode is a bit of a complex beast. Phones sporting OLED screens will certainly benefit from a dark mode — they’ll also look sharp doing so. That said, LCD panels won’t benefit so much.
It’s also a matter of apps. Many of Google’s apps, especially the newest ones like News and the Messages update, are very white. Those apps would look great with a dark mode — and supposedly Messages will get one. However some apps won’t look great using a dark mode.
Not to mention the difficulty of implementing a system wide dark mode on Android. Most apps likely wouldn’t support it. One app might have it’s own style of dark mode, like Twitter, and another might just refuse to implement the feature entirely.