It looks like Google may finally — finally! — add an official dark mode to its Maps app.
Google Maps has been one of the main hold-outs when it comes to dark mode so far — it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering that having to change the whole map would be a lot of work. That said, Google does already offer a night mode when using Google Maps’ navigation feature, so maybe it wouldn’t be that much work.
Regardless, the feature is in the works. 9to5Google spotted it during a teardown of the latest APK. For those unfamiliar with APK teardowns, it involves decompiling the ‘.apk’ file that contains Android apps. 9to5 went through the decompiled files and looked at the code contained within the APK. Ultimately, 9to5 made inferences based on the code, which means it could be wrong. Further, it means most things spotted in the code are works-in-progress and may never get finished. All this is to say that you should take everything with a grain of salt and expect things to look or work differently than what the APK teardown implies.
All right, with that said, lets dive in. First, 9to5 spotted a few strings of code in version 10.50 of Google Maps that explicitly refer to “DARK_MODE_SETTING.” Additionally, the code strings describe a new ‘Appearance’ menu in Google Maps’ settings for changing the app’s theme.
Another bit of code describes three options in the Appearance menu: ‘Light theme,’ ‘Dark theme’ and ‘Default to device theme.’ Considering most apps with dark mode offer those three options, I’m not surprised to see them in Maps.
One interesting bit of information gleaned from the code is that Maps’ dark mode will operate separately from the navigation feature. It appears that the Appearance menu in Maps will have a separate section where users can control how navigation works.
Finally, 9to5 notes that Google added several ‘night’ assets and icons in version 10.50, likely for use in the dark mode.
It remains unclear how much longer users will have to wait before dark mode officially rolls out in Google Maps. However, judging by the code, it could happen soon.