Dark mode in iOS 13 is an inconsistent mess

Apps, the iOS share sheet and other things don't play well with dark mode

iOS 13 Dark Mode

Apple’s latest major software update, iOS 13, brought dark mode to iPhones around the world. But like many aspects of the rather buggy update from Cupertino, dark mode isn’t ready for prime time.

The dark theme isn’t consistently usable or even remotely close to the ‘magic’ that Apple’s products usually exhibit.

Case and point: almost all of Apple’s apps support the iOS 13 dark themre, and few others do. Even apps with dark modes, like Twitter and Facebook Messenger, don’t follow the system toggle.

For Apple, which is all about making things “just work,” it’s a departure from form.

Another example of this is the iOS 13 share sheet. Users call up this menu when they want to share something like an Instagram post or a URL to another app. Apple refreshed the share sheet in the latest update and added dark mode support to it. The problem is the share menu doesn’t follow the system dark theme. Instead, it follows the app. While that may not sound like a big deal, because apps don’t follow the system dark mode, it creates a jarring experience.

iOS 13 dark mode share sheet

In an Apple app, which follows the system dark theme, the share sheet matches the app — for example, open the App Store in the light mode and you’ll get a light share sheet, do it in dark mode and you get a dark share sheet. Open an app like Twitter with a dark theme, or Spotify (which has always sported a dark theme) and try to share something, you’ll get a light share sheet.

It makes for a jarring experience. It’s behaviour I’d expect from an Android device — not because Android is worse, but because Google tends to approach development at a piecemeal rate and doesn’t have the power to get developers on board at a large scale. Plus, Android’s dark mode is still clearly under construction.

Apple doesn’t have these excuses. In its current state, iOS 13’s dark mode, which is heavily featured as a significant new feature in the update, is not up to par.

Will it get better? Yes, there’s no doubt about that. Developers are already working on adding dark themes to apps and connecting it to the iOS system toggle. However, it’s harder than you think and may take some time. Until developers get on board, using your iPhone in dark mode will be a subpar experience at best.