Google Photos is a great alternative to the native Photos app on iPhone and iPad. Amazing photo viewing and editing features, combined with unlimited photo and video backup, make it an absolute must-have on your device.
But what Google Photos lacks is a dark mode. Most native and third-party apps have been using darker color schemes for a long time. So interacting with Google Photos is a mixed experience, especially at night.
Thankfully, Google finally added dark mode support with version 4.49 of Google Photos. If you’re using an iPhone or iPad with iOS 13/iPadOS or higher installed, you should have no problem using the app in dark mode.
Enable dark mode in Google Photos
Before you start using Google Photos in dark mode, make sure to update the app; It must be running version 4.49 or higher to work in dark mode. Go to the App Store, search for Google Photos, and then tap Update. Once Google Photos is up to date, you’re good to go.
The dark mode functionality in Google Photos is tied to the system color scheme of your iPhone and iPad. So, you need to switch your iPhone or iPad interface to dark mode, and Google Photos will automatically change the color theme.
If you’ve been using iOS 13 or iPadOS for a while, you might already know how dark mode works on your device. Start by opening the Control Center on your iPhone or iPad. On iPhones with Face ID, this requires a swipe-down gesture from the top-right corner of the screen; the same move applies to all iPads running iPadOS. If you’re using an iPhone with a home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
In Control Center, perform a haptic touch (press and hold) or 3D Touch gesture on the brightness bar; once it grows, tap the Dark Mode icon at the bottom of the screen.
And voila! That should activate dark mode for the entire device, which includes Google Photos and other supported apps.
Advice: You can also set your iPhone or iPad with a dark mode schedule that will automatically turn on at night and turn off during the day.
The Google Photos app looks great in dark mode and is a feast for the eyes. It’s nicely implemented throughout the app: you’ll find it in the four main tabs, the Settings panel, the photo editing screen, and more. Even the fonts look slightly blurred and not dazzling against the dark background.
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Aesthetics aside, using the app in dark mode results in better battery life for iPhones with OLED displays. However, dark mode in Google Photos isn’t really “dark”; if you look closer, it’s a dark gray at best. Color looks incredible, but only pixel-perfect blacks count for battery savings. Diary.
There is no dedicated option to enable dark mode in Google Photos. You need to turn on dark mode for your entire iPhone or iPad, even if you just want to use Google Photos in dark mode.
However, it can make the whole process of changing color modes much easier. For that, you need to put a Dark Mode control in the main area of Control Center.
Start by going to iPhone/iPad Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. From this screen, add Dark Mode to the list of active controls.
Then you can open the Control Center and quickly enable/disable dark mode whenever you use Google Photos. This is better than having Haptic Touch or 3D Touch on the brightness bar. That works for other apps too.
Google Photos in Dark Mode: iOS 12 and later
If your iPhone or iPad can’t even run iOS 13 or iPadOS, don’t despair. You can still use Google Photos in dark mode using the Smart Invert feature built into iOS 12 and later.
Smart Invert works by inverting the colors on your screen to create a dark mode effect. But it is ‘smart’ enough to leave the images alone.
Just go to iPhone/iPad Settings app > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut, and then enable Smart Invert Colors as an accessibility shortcut.
Whenever you want to use Google Photos, or any other app, in dark mode, press the Home or Power button (on devices with Face ID) three times. To disable Smart Invert, triple-click the Start or Power button again.
Don’t stay up late
Google Photos looks great in dark mode. Finally, you can use it at night without blinding your eyes. However, Google Photos needs its own separate dark mode toggle – photo gallery apps generally look good in dark mode, but changing color modes isn’t enough for the entire iPhone. Also, how about some perfect black pixels? Battery life is also important.
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