How to install Dark Theme on Android 10

Black theme is supposed to save battery on smartphones with AMOLED screens. Android 10 introduces dark mode, but it needs to be turned on or off manually. In this post, we discuss a new app called Automatic Dark Theme that allows users to set an automatic dark theme on Android 10 based on time. The dark mode or night theme has become the rage of the day. We recently covered an article that listed the dark themet best for Samsung devices running One UI.

We’ve seen evidence of Google working on dark mode for Android since 2017 when Android 8.0 Oreo was released. It has a hidden dark theme that is not ready for prime time. Then we got some dark themes with Android Pie. In 2019, we finally have a proper dark mode on Android with Android 10. With iOS 13, Apple also introduced dark mode. iOS 13 is the first time we’ve heard of Apple working on dark mode for iOS.

Unlike Android 10, iOS 13 can automatically set light and dark themes based on the time of day. Now, this is not bash on Android, I’m a fan. But sometimes it just continues to show how Google struggles to execute on good ideas when Apple often nailed them on the first try. It can be frustrating as an Android user. Thanks to the great third-party developer support, you can now also set up automatic light and dark themes on Android 10.

Auto dark theme

Automatic Dark Theme pretty much works and is advertised on any Google Pixel smartphone running Android 10 as well as the Essential Phone because it’s basically stock Android. The app is also available in beta for Huawei P30 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 9, Redmi K20 Pro (beta). Several custom ROMs are also supported as they are all AOSP based. On OnePlus devices running Oxygen OS, almost anything that changes to Android 10’s dark theme works. However, this list does not include anything from OnePlus and includes all the stock apps like Phone, Contacts, Messages, Settings, etc.

This is a simple application that makes some changes at the system level. Therefore, it requires a special permission called WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS. A lot of Android customization apps have requested this special permission in the past so this is not new. The only thing is, this permission isn’t as easy to grant as toggling it in Settings, though that’s not hard to grant either. Only slight inconvenience if anything.

Enable USB Debugging

To grant the required permissions, you will first have to turn on USB debugging on my device, found in Developer options .

  • Move in Setting > Introduce about phone .
  • Touch Build number 7 times.
  • You will see a toast message saying, You are a developer.
  • Go back to Settings now and you will find a new option called “Developer Options”, select it.
  • Scroll down and find USB Debugging and enable it.

Licensing WRITE_SECURE_Setting

Now that your device is ready to receive ADB commands, you will need ADB.

  1. Download Android SDK Platform Tools for Windows, Mac & Linux
  2. Extract the downloaded zip file anywhere on your PC.
  3. The extracted platform-tools folder contains all the tools needed to run ADB and Fastboot.
  4. Next, launch a command prompt, Windows Powershell or Terminal inside the folder platform tools extracted .
    • On Windows, right-click and select Open Powershell here . Alternatively, you can type cmd in the address bar and press Enter to launch a command prompt window.
    • On macOS or Linux, right-click the folder and select Open in Terminal .
  5. Connect your Android 10 device to your PC using a USB Cable.
  6. You’ll see a prompt on your Android device asking for Enable USB debugging permission for PC. Allow it.
    • In case you don’t see the prompt immediately, type the command given below on your PC and press enter.
      adb devices
  7. Now that you can execute ADB commands from your PC on your phone, you can finally grant the required permissions to the app. Enter the following command to do so.

Command Prompt:

adb shell pm grant com.cannic.apps.automaticdarktheme android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS

Windows Powershell:

.adb shell pm grant com.cannic.apps.automaticdarktheme android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS

Linux and macOS Terminal:

./adb shell pm grant com.cannic.apps.automaticdarktheme android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS

Activated Automatic Dark Theme on Android 10

Finally, launch the app you installed and you’ll be able to activate it by the toggle at the top. By default, the app is set to enable dark theme at 10pm. It will also automatically disable the dark theme at 7am. You can adjust these times or simply enable the option above: Watch the sunset and sunrise . The app itself also goes with a dark theme, but it’s not an app you’ll open a lot after the initial setup.

There is also a transfer function change the theme only when the phone is locked. This seems like a subtle choice to include but it is not. Switching to a dark theme while you are using an app will result in the app crashing or restarting. Definitely not great for the user experience. The app overcomes this by simply doing it while the device is locked, i.e. not in use. Google’s method is to pull the feature back entirely after beta testing.


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