Google is adding a light/dark theme toggle for Chromebooks
Whether you use iOS or Android, by now you’re probably used to switching between light and dark system themes. Things are different on Chrome OS, where there’s a mix of both, with some light and dark elements used throughout the system. That’s apparently going to change, however, according to numerous reports.
Chrome Story first discovered code changes that suggest Google is working to implement a UI revamp that will allow users to toggle between light and dark themes. Currently, Chrome OS features light elements in places like the file manager and settings page. Meanwhile, there are dark elements in the shelf, quick settings tray, and app drawer.
What Google is doing, according to Android Police, is working to create a light theme that can then serve as the baseline to build a proper dark theme against. The website points to several commits in the Chromium Gerrit, one of which reveals key changes to “login-constants.h.” According to the code, when the light theme is turned on, Chrome OS will use white as a base when tinting the lock screen if it can’t extract a major color from your current wallpaper.
Light and dark themes in Chrome OS. Source: 9to5Google
9to5Google was able to see the changes in action thanks to the latest build of Chrome OS Canary. In the new build, you’ll find a toggle in the quick settings panel, which users can turn off and on whenever they see fit. From what we can tell, the light theme of Chrome OS is still a work in progress, as some of the elements are difficult to see, such as the clock.
More light themed settings. Source: 9to5Google
While there’s plenty of evidence to suggest Google is working to bring a light and dark theme toggle to Chrome OS, there’s no telling when these changes will be available for Chromebook users to try out. As Android Police notes, Chrome OS previously featured a dark theme, but faulty code caused some Chromebooks to be unusable. Hopefully, more care was taken to avoid any such issues with the newest changes.
Providing Chromebook users with a choice to switch between light and dark themes should improve usability. Having a mix of both, as Chrome OS currently does, not only shows a lack of consistency but also strips users of choice. As cool as dark mode is, some people find it difficult to see. Others might notice their eyes getting fatigued more quickly with a light mode.
It’s unclear if Chromebook users will only be able to switch between the modes manually, or if there will be a mode that can automatically switch between light and dark themes depending on the time of day. It’s also unclear how this toggle will interact with apps and webpages that can detect the system theme and change their UIs accordingly.
The arrival of potential light and dark themes is just one of many new features coming to Chrome OS. Google is also allegedly working on a “Holding Space” feature, which will give users quick access to screenshots and downloads, along with a “Capture Mode” for screen recording.