Google wants developers to add dark themes to save battery life

By | 9th November 2018

There are many different reasons why a big chunk of our readers loves dark themes. They’re more aesthetically pleasing, they’re easier on the eyes, and when done right, and under the right conditions, they might even save some battery. These are just a handful of reasons why dark Substratum themes populate the Play Store—as most apps out there keep chasing an all-white look, a dark UI becomes the better, friendlier option, and Substratum allows you to go for a dark look on every one of your apps. More recently, Google has also started to take a friendly approach to dark themes.

As you may be already aware, Google has recently started introducing dark modes on several of their apps, most notably including Messages and YouTube, a move that has been applauded by many power users and regular consumers alike. Now, they seem to be actively advocating for developers to introduce dark modes on their apps, too.

At the 2018 Android Dev Summit, Google took the stage to talk a bit about what developers can do with their apps to save battery on the end user’s phone. One of their solutions was to implement a dark UI. According to Google’s research, colors displayed on the screen can affect the phone’s battery draw, and a night mode (either dark gray or AMOLED black) can go a long way to save battery. Some of Google’s findings include:

  • Brightness affects power usage, and battery life, in a mostly linear fashion.
  • A dark theme can reduce battery usage, even with max brightness, by up to 63% on AMOLED displays.
  • Pixel color value can also affect power usage quite a bit, with white being the most power-hungry color.

Some of Google’s findings regarding the importance of a dark UI. Image credits: SlashGear

Google also admitted their past mistake of advocating for all-white interfaces for several years with their official Material Design specifications. While all-white interfaces may look better to some, a dark mode is friendlier to your battery, your screen, and your eyes.

Given Google’s new stance on this topic, we should get to see more dark Google apps in the coming months—and maybe, finally, a full-fledged system-wide dark mode for Android which applies everywhere. If you’re a developer, then it would be a good idea to work on a dark mode for your app, at least as a toggle.

You can check out the whole talk here:

Via: SlashGear