Want to take down your screen brightness a notch? Here’s how to turn on dark mode and set custom colors across your apps and menus in Windows 10.
These days it’s nearly impossible to escape screens. We stare at laptops at work, smartphone displays during breaks, iPads on the commute, and connected TVs during evening Netflix sessions.
This is bad for our health for a number of reasons—blue light keeps us up at night, and displays can cause eye strain, among other things—but going off the grid is unrealistic. For now, enabling dark mode can make screen time easier on the eyes.
On Windows 10, you can change between dark and light themes, choose accent colors, and decide where those changes will appear. Here’s how to customize Windows 10 color themes and flip on dark mode.
Choose a Color Theme
To enable dark mode in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, navigate to Settings > Personalization > Colors. Select the drop-down menu for “Choose your color” and pick Light, Dark, or Custom. Light or Dark changes the look of the Windows Start menu and the built-in apps.
The Custom option lets you mix and match to get the best of Light and Dark. Choose Custom in the drop-down menu under “Choose your color.” Then pick Light or Dark for your default Windows mode (which covers the Start Menu and taskbar) and for your default app mode.
Play around with the different color options to see which scheme you prefer. The preview image shows how your changes will appear.
Select Accent Colors
Once you’ve set your preferred color theme, you can choose an accent color that will appear on icons, tiles, and other screen elements in Windows. Windows uses an accent based on your background image by default, but you can change this by clicking a color you like in the Windows colors palette. You can also choose the Custom color option to create your own variation.
Next, you can decide where you’d like the accent color to appear. In the “Show accent color on the following surfaces” section, choose Start, taskbar, and action center and/or Title bars and window borders.
Which Apps Are Affected?
Changing the color theme in Windows 10 affects menu colors and built-in apps, such as File Explorer and the Settings menu. Additional apps affected include Alarms & Clock, Calculator, Camera, Calendar, Mail, Maps, Messages, Microsoft Store, Movies & TV, People, Photos, Remote Desktop, Sticky Notes, 3D Viewer, Tips, Video Editor, Voice Recorder, Weather, Windows Security, Xbox Console Companion, Xbox Game Bar, and Your Phone.
Some third-party apps also now support Windows 10 dark mode, so color changes will apply there, too.