With iOS 13 Coming Soon, Apple Tells Developers: 'Get Ready for Dark Mode'

Apple's iOS 13 is coming soon with all kinds of new features and functionality, but the company today reminded mobile developers to get ready for one thing in particular: Dark Mode.

"Dark Mode introduces a dramatic new look for iPhone and iPad that is seamlessly integrated throughout the system and simple to turn on from Control Center or Siri. With a dark appearance for all user interface elements, your app’s content becomes the focus," the company said in a short Aug. 29 post titled "Get Ready for Dark Mode."

"When a user has Dark Mode turned on, all apps built with the iOS 13 SDK will run in Dark Mode. Learn how to optimize for Dark Mode, then test your apps on a device running the latest beta version of iOS 13 or iPadOS. If you need more time to make your apps look fantastic in Dark Mode, or if Dark Mode is not suited for your app, you can learn how to opt-out."

Getting ready for Dark Mode involves updating colors, images and behaviors in an app so it can automatically adapt when it's in effect, according to the documentation.

Dark Mode
[Click on image for larger view.] Dark Mode (source: Apple)

"All apps should support both light and dark interface styles, but might perform better with a specific appearance in some places," Apple says. "For example, you might always adopt a light appearance for printed content.

"Before you change your code, turn on Dark Mode and see how your app responds. The system does a lot of the work for you, and if your app uses standard views and controls, you might not need to make many changes. Standard views and controls automatically update their appearance to match the current interface style. If you already use color and image assets, you can add dark variants without changing your code."

Specific steps listed in the documentation to get ready for Dark Mode include:

  • Choose adaptive colors for the UI
  • Create images for all appearances
  • Update custom views using specific methods
  • Choose visual-effect materials based on the intended usage
  • Opt out only as needed
  • Avoid expensive tasks during appearance transitions

Dark Mode is actually the top item on Apple's list of iOS 13 key features and enhancements, a list that also details new functionality for Photos, Camera, Privacy and Security, Sign in with Apple, HomeKit, Maps, Siri, Shortcuts, HomePod, AirPods, Memoji and messages and more.

iOS 13 is expected to ship next month.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.