How to Use a Hidden *Darker* Dark Mode Theme in MacOS Mojave


If you like Dark Mode in MacOS, you may appreciate knowing that MacOS Mojave has a secondary secret darker version of the Dark interface theme available with slightly greater contrast, and it’s easy to enable despite being unlabeled and almost entirely hidden in plain sight.

The difference is subtle, but if you enable this you’ll end up with a slightly darker version of the dark theme in MacOS. Or if you happen to be using the slightly darker version of the Dark Mode theme already (and perhaps aren’t even aware of it), you can easily change to the slightly lighter version too.

How to Enable the Darker Dark Theme in MacOS

It turns out that switching the Accent colors in MacOS also impacts the Dark Theme, specifically if you choose the Grayscale / Graphite option as the color accent. The effect is a darker version of the Dark theme, here’s how to get this effect yourself:

  1. Go to  Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”
  2. Go to the “General” preference panel
  3. Choose the “Dark” theme if you have not done so already, then under the ‘Accent’ section choose the graphite / gray option furthest on the right
  4. How to enable the Darker Dark theme in Mac OS

  5. Wait a moment and you should see the Dark Mode theme shift to slightly darker colors with slightly higher contrast

Some users may not even notice a change as it is quite subtle, but if you use Dark Mode often you should be able to tell, particularly in low light situations as the contrast is slightly boosted, and the grays are a shade or few darker.

Toggling Darker dark theme and Dark theme in Mac OS

The animated GIF images flip between the two versions of Dark mode theme in the Mac Finder, as you can see it’s not a dramatically different appearance between the two, but the one with gray accent colors is notably darker and offers higher contrast than the other with a color accent chosen.

The Darker Dark theme in Mac OS

In still images, the screenshots below demonstrate the two variations of the Dark theme as well.

Here’s the standard Dark theme, with color accents:

Regular Dark mode theme in Mac OS

And here’s the darker Dark theme with the gray accents, which features darker grays on all interface elements, and a bit higher contrast:

The Darker Dark theme in Mac OS

Whether you find the differences to be subtle or not, it’s quite nice having two alternative versions of the Dark theme available, and the gray / graphite accent color looks quite nice with Dark mode too.

You can make this darker theme effect a bit more pronounced by disabling transparency in macOS too (which can also speed up some Macs), and you can also use the Increase Contrast option with Dark Mode if you’d like.

As long as you leave the gray/graphite accent color chosen, then you can toggle between enabling Dark Mode and Light Mode, or even using our trick to schedule Dark Mode in macOS Mojave, and the darker version of the Dark theme will be enabled.

And no, there are not two different versions of the Light theme, in case you were wondering.

Update: some versions of MacOS Mojave seem to not have the dual dark mode intensity options, while others do. Share with us your experiences in the comments below, including your system version.


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