Tips & more

Automatic Dark Mode doesn’t work on your Mac? Here is what to do

• You have enabled automatic theme switching in the System Preferences, but the colors don’t change with sunset or sunrise.
• Solution: put the monitor to sleep and wake it up again.

Automatic Dark mode on a Mac

▸ Dark Mode is a helpful MacOS feature that enables dark colors of the interface (system and apps), letting you stay focused on your work and reduce eye strain caused by too much light from white or light areas on the display.

▸ You can select the Dark appearance as a default option, or make it change automatically with sunset (Light ⇢ Dark) and sunrise (Dark ⇢ Light).

▸ To enable automatic Dark Mode, go to System Preferences » General, and then select “Auto” in the Appearance section on top of the list of settings.

Enable automatic Dark Mode on Mac
How to enable automatic Dark Mode on a Mac computer

Automatic Dark Mode – the problem

▸ So, you have enabled the Dark Mode already, but it doesn’t change automatically. You are working hard in the afternoon, it’s already dark outside, but the colors of the interface are still light.

▸ You are checking the time of a sunset, and it turns out it has already passed long ago.

▸ Don’t go to the Settings to change the appearance from “Auto” to “Dark.” If you do it, you will replace automatic theme switching with the fixed Dark Mode. The colors won’t automatically change back to light when you wake up in the morning.

▸ You wouldn’t like to see the screen colors suddenly change when you are in the middle of work, would you? It would be confusing and irritating, and you would most probably disable auto Dark Mode once and for good.

▸ That’s why the automatic change of interface colors can’t be performed when the monitor is active.

▸ It’s worth noting that the same rule is being used on your iPhone and iPad, but you most probably won’t even notice it because single sessions (between the display goes black) on mobile devices are much shorter.

Automatic Dark Mode on a Mac – how to apply it immediately

All you have to remember is that the color theme is being switched when you put the display to sleep, even for a short period of time.

If you want to apply the Dark Mode immediately, simply close the lid of your Mac and open it again.

You can do it even quicker if you apply Put Display to Sleep action to one of the corners of the display.

How to enable Put Display to Sleep hot corner

1. Go to System Preferences » Desktop & Screen Saver.

2. Select “Screen Saver” tab at the top, and click on “Hot Corners…” button in the bottom right.

MacOS - How to enable Put Display to Sleep hot corner
How to enable Put Display to Sleep hot corner to apply the Dark or Light Mode immediately

3. You can pick up an action for each of the four corners. Select “Put Display to Sleep” from a drop-down menu for any corner you find suitable for that purpose. I have chosen top right.

Enable Put Display to Sleep hot corner
Apply Put Display to Sleep action to one of the corners to quickly perform sleep & wake of the monitor to force activate or deactivate the Dark Mode

4. From now on, every time you want to immediately apply the Dark Mode or Light Mode matching your sunset & sunrise time, simply move the mouse to the “Put Display to Sleep” hot corner, and wake up the display again.

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