How To Enable Dark Mode in Gmail for Android

4 min read

Dark mode for Gmail is here. But not all users have it yet. Reports say the latest update to the Gmail app has brought with it dark mode. Gmail may be the last major app in Google’s suite to not have dark mode and now it is rolling out. Find out if you’re one of the lucky few to have the long-awaited dark mode for Gmail.

Google has slowly been releasing dark mode for its apps, and we’ve been patiently waiting for Gmail to get the feature. Now, it’s here (for some) and we can finally see our emails in dark mode and make Gmail match the rest of our apps. No more eye strain, no more boring white. Improved battery consumption when browsing messages, and it will even increase the readability of emails.

Enabling Dark Mode in Gmail for Android Without Root

First, make sure you’re running the latest version of Gmail from the Play Store. If the “Theme” setting below still isn’t available for you after updating Gmail, you may have to wait a week or two for the server-side update. Or if you’re rooted, you can use these instructions to enable it right now.

Otherwise, open the Gmail app and tap on the hamburger icon in the top left. Scroll down to the bottom of this menu and tap “Settings,” then select “General Settings”. At the top of the next page, tap “Theme” and choose “Dark” on the popup.

Alternatively, if you’re on Android 10 and you have the system-wide dark theme enabled, you can simply select “System Default” and it will turn dark to match your phone’s theme. For pre-Android 10 users, it will say “Set by Batter Saver.” This will make dark mode turn on when your app is in battery saver mode.

Now when you navigate the Gmail app, you will have a dark theme. Throughout the app, there will be a dark gray background and light text. Even your emails will be displayed with a dark theme.

Enabling Dark Mode in Gmail for Android With Root

Dark mode is finally rolling out for Gmail on Android. But this is a Google product, so you already know it’ll be a while before the server-side update hits most devices. Sideloading the newest APK doesn’t work, neither does switching accounts. But if you’re rooted, you can enable dark mode by modifying a simple XML.

Start by opening your favorite root-enabled file browser. You’ll need one that has a built-in text editor. If yours doesn’t, we recommend Solid Explorer. Once you’re squared away, head to the following folder from the root partition on your device:


Once inside, long-press the FlagPrefs.xml file, then tap the three-dot menu button in the bottom-right and choose “Open with.” From there, select the SE Text Editor on the prompt.

Now you’ll need to find the following line. It should be the second line in the XML, but if not, you can use the “Find” feature in SE Text Editor’s overflow menu to search for it:

<boolean name="DarkThemeSupport__dark_theme_support" value="false" />

The “false” at the end is why you don’t already have dark mode. So change that to read “true” instead. When you’re done, tap the save icon near the top-right corner.

Now, just force-stop and reopen the Gmail app. Head to the “Settings” option in the side navigation menu and select “General Settings.” From there, the first option should be “Theme.” Select “Dark” here, or if you’re on Android 10 with the system-wide dark mode enabled, you can choose “System Default” to have Gmail match your phone’s dark mode status.

We’ve heard that some people aren’t seeing the above option after editing the XML, though we’re not sure why it doesn’t work for everyone. It could be this requires Android 9 or higher, or perhaps your system language needs to be set to US English. You should also be running Gmail version 2019.08.18.267044774 or higher.

But for most people, the above trick should work. Now you should be looking at a dark gray version of Gmail with Material Design 2 elements. It’s definitely sharp!


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