Google has been rolling out dark mode for many of its apps lately and now it is finally Gmail’s turn to receive the eye-friendly mode. It is not true black that will properly take advantage of OLED displays, but it might be for better reasons. Going with a dark gray background means your eyes will adjust better to the UI elements than your eyes would adjust with a true black background.
The latest Gmail version 2019.06.09. brings along with it a dark mode feature in settings. However, The dark mode doesn’t currently have a toggle and it is not available in the main window or sidebar. Furthermore, the dark mode only turns on intermittently, with no way to manually control this setting.
The main inbox view, account switcher, and emails are yet to be themed. It is still not clear how Google will be handling messages since newsletters and other correspondences are often image-heavy and feature white backgrounds that cannot be changed easily. This is a similar dilemma to Gmail on the desktop web where theming is available for the general UI, but not for message bodies.
Overall, the dark theme for Gmail settings is quite similar to Google Keep’s, which rolled out last month. There will be a preference to enable manually, with Gmail likely also respecting device preferences. Like Google Calendar and Drive, this will be a very welcome addition.
It is unclear as to when Google might bring a more permanent, fully-encompassing dark mode feature to Gmail on Android but for now, the Gmail v2019.06.09 APK can be downloaded from here.