Did you know Chrome OS has a secret feature made just for YouTube?
It’s called dark mode (or night mode).
You probably already know what it is, as many movie sites and apps already have this feature. Your screen goes dark around the borders, UI, menus, and more which only leaves the video in all its glory. Users generally use dark modes to watch movies in the dark or where there’s dim lighting.
It’s easier on the eyes and makes it more bearable than bright, white colors which many sites nowadays use. You know what I mean. Trying to watch a video among a bright background isn’t the most pleasing thing. Some users also use it for reading in the dark (this is how I got into using it since videos can just be full-screened).
Anyway, enough rambling. You can easily enable this hidden feature if you’re using Chrome. It also works on Firefox as well. Both platforms work as long as you’re signed into your Google Account. If you’re using another browser, like Edge, IE, or Opera, you can download a copy of the Chrome browser here. It’s free to download and is the most popular browser in the world.
If you’re still on IE, you need to sit back and take a look at your….screen. Get with the cool kids and grab Chrome. It’ll only help you out.
Last updated: 6/3/17.
Update: YouTube now has dark mode enabled simply by toggling it in the hamburger menu. I’m not sure if all devices have this update or if it’s done rolling out to all platforms yet. However, you should be able to toggle the dark mode on/off from the options.
Enable night mode on YouTube
Here’s how to switch it on:
Step 1: Open up Chrome or Firefox and head to YouTube.
Step 2: Be sure you’re logged into your Google Account.
Step 3: Right-click anywhere on the screen and go to “Inspect element” in the options menu that pops up, or you can press “Ctrl + Shift + I” to open developer tools.
Step 4: You’ll see a bunch of gibberish that you don’t understand (unless you’re a developer). Don’t worry, just find the section labeled “console” and click on it.
Step 5: Paste the following code into the console tab:
Step 6: Close the developer tools window and refresh the page (press F5). if you get logged out of your account, just log back in.
Step 7: Look at the top-right of your screen. There should be a new icon. Click on it and select “Dark Mode” and turn it on.
Congrats. You now have enabled dark mode on your device. YouTube should look a lot different now and it should also be much easier on your eyes.
Done playing in the dark?
When you’re done messing around, or if it’s now daytime, go ahead and turn it off by toggling it back to normal. You can use this option whenever you want and adjust it accordingly depending on the lighting in your work area.
Night mode is a nice feature that I’d expect out of a site as big as YouTube. I expect this to be a standard feature pretty soon on the site. Personally, I use night mode only for reading as my work area is pretty well-lit. However, now with the ability to easily toggle it on and off, I might as well use it to watch YouTube videos as well.
Some web browsers already have a feature light this built in, like Maxthon. It’s a lesser-known browser but it has a toggle button that works on any website. You can switch to contrasting colors for any website you visit, but it doesn’t always work right since it uses a cookie-cutter approach (they’re probably thinking “just contrast the colors and it’ll work!”).
I just checked, and there are also a few night mode apps for Chrome and add-ons for Firefox that both enable night mode as well, so you have a lot of options to get night mode for all sites you visit- if you like it enough.
Also, I get that it’s not for everyone. For some, it’s just too different and distracting. Or it just feels very weird with a different color contrast. If it doesn’t work out for you, it’s no biggie. I didn’t like it at first either.
Anyway, there you have it. You can now view YouTube in the dark without straining your eyes from the bright white background.