- 1 Browsers
- 2 Media
- 3 Messaging
- 4 News
- 5 Reddit
- 6 Twitter
- 7 Utility
Best Android games of 2017 for your new phone, tablet, or Chromebook
30 of the best games for Google Daydream
10 very cool augmented reality apps (that aren't design or shopping tools)
30 Android apps with dark themes that are easy on the eyes
30 of the best retro games ported to Android
- View All 24 Articles In This Series
Personally, I love dark themes in apps. Oftentimes, one of the first things I do is switch to the Night or Dark Mode in every one that supports it. Since I know that I'm not the only one out there that wants my apps to reflect my soul, I gathered together thirty to help some of you get started on your path to the dark side.
All jokes and edginess aside, dark themes are much easier on your eyes, especially in low-light conditions, and can take a bit of stress off the batteries in phones or tablets with OLED displays. Avoiding blinding white backgrounds when you're in an app for a particularly long period of time is definitely beneficial.
Firefox is my secondary browser, usually where I keep things for AP and other professional endeavors. With the recent Photon UI update, Firefox looks fantastic. One thing to note is that it does not explicitly have a dark mode; however, you can install custom themes like you can on the desktop version, so you can get a night mode of your own going. "Dark Fox" is my favorite, personally.
Opera Browser Beta
As a last minute addition to this roundup, Opera updated the beta version of its browser app to support a dark mode. If you're into using Opera on your phone, then I am sure that this is exciting news. Simply enable Night Mode in the settings – I recommend turning the browser brightness all the way up, and even then it's still a tad too dark – and get on browsing!
Puffin is a browser that promises to not only be secure, but also "wicked fast." The trick, apparently, is to offload some of the workload from the phone to cloud servers, which theoretically makes things faster. Regardless, it seems like a neat browser... and it has a dark theme, which is what counts here.
Samsung Internet Browser
Samsung's Internet Browser is surprisingly good and competent. I find myself surprised every time I have to install it to sign into SmartThings, not only with how quick it is, but how nice it looks. It also has an awesome, easily accessible night mode option right in the quick settings. If you haven't yet, then I suggest checking out what Samsung has to offer; it's much better than in years past.
Camera Roll - Gallery
Having a dark theme in your photo gallery is definitely nice. Though there are many out there, including OEM ones like OnePlus', Camera Roll - Gallery stood out to us. It not only looks good, but it's spartan and very fast. In practice, this app actually loads and scrolls through local pictures faster than Photos does, though it feels pretty close to the OxygenOS gallery to me. So if you're on a Pixel, then you might want to check this one out.
Though my days of religiously listening to podcasts every possible second have long since passed, I still keep Pocket Casts installed on every device. The app is by far the best way to keep up to date on all of your favorite podcasts (*wink, wink*) and among all of its features, the one we're most interested in right now are the theme options.
Pocket Casts sports not one, but two dark modes, depending on if you want to take advantage of full blacks on an OLED display. Both look great, however, and switching to one of them is the first thing I do after signing into my sync account.
Twitch doesn't need an introduction. If you spend any time on the internet, you are most likely already aware of the massive Amazon-owned streaming platform. Whether you're watching, chatting, or streaming, the Twitch app is actually pretty good. Though the dark theme isn't enabled by default, it's easy to find in the settings. And like the web version, it makes watching a stream or participating in the chat much less eye-straining.
Discord - Chat for Gamers
Discord started off as a great way for gamers to get together and chat. It also features voice chats, Spotify integration, and a slew of other things. It's how I communicate with my Destiny clan, but Discord isn't just for gamers. It's a fantastic service for any group of people to chat; I even prefer it to Slack due to its better reliability.
One of the awesome features about Discord is that when you set the theme to dark, it changes for all instances where you're logged in, including future sign-ins. Considering how often I have to set up phones, I love this feature. Best thing about Discord is that it's free.
Pulse SMS (Phone/Tablet/Web)
There are many, many SMS apps out there, but the one that I (and David) heartily recommend is Pulse from Klinker Apps. It not only looks great, but it features plenty of customization options and message sync across devices. Plus, it has dark and black themes, as well as color choices to apply globally or to specific conversations. I don't use SMS much, but Pulse is nonetheless one of the apps I always keep installed.
Signal Private Messenger
Now we get into other ways of messaging. Since we're going alphabetically, Signal is first up. Like its competitors, Signal is a messaging service that focuses on the utmost security and privacy. It also supports SMS/MMS, so it can be used as your default texting app. Each message is encrypted and secured. Best of all, you get to choose between the light and dark side. I personally do not use Signal, but I've heard great things about it.
Telegram is my messenger of choice, if you haven't learned that by this point. From the reliability of the service to the cross-platform support, Telegram is how I prefer to communicate. It supports custom themes, which you can create yourself or download. I typically stick to the default dark one, just because it's easier.
Telegram X is the alternative version to the regular Telegram app. This is where the company behind the platform tests new features. Though, it gets a bit weird when you consider that X is basically the beta to the regular app, but has its own beta program.
Anyway, I actually prefer Telegram X, but notification issues on some devices (like my 5T) make the app unusable. It's even more frustrating when other phones, like the LG G6 or Huawei Mate 10 Pro, work just fine. Regardless, give it a try on your phone to see if it works for you.
When asked about a weather app, the most common answer I hear from people is AccuWeather. This service is quite popular and one that I often rely on when I'm not querying Assistant (which uses The Weather Channel), though I can't say that I often install the official AccuWeather Android app. However, it does have a dark mode option.
Feedly - Get Smarter
Feedly is my go-to RSS reader. Before I joined AP, my lists were huge and I could spend hours poring through them. When I got this job, I didn't need to religiously read everything. Nonetheless, Feedly is still one of my favorite apps (and I use a Chronus widget to keep up to date on everything). It features either a white or black theme, the latter of which looks very nice on an OLED display. If you're looking for a competent RSS reader, Feedly is definitely one to check out (I also like Inoreader).
Google News & Weather
Google News & Weather has been around for a while, and for good reason. It often presents a good selection of news stories, including local and curated for you personally. It also sports a very nice dark theme that looks great with the weather forecast. If you don't have this installed on your phone, then I recommend it, especially if you're not interested in creating and keeping up to date on a bunch of RSS feeds.
Instapaper has been around for a little while and it acts just like Pocket does. What I like about Instapaper is that it's more focused on reading the saved web content, whereas Pocket has gotten so bloated over the years. So if you're tired of ads and suggested articles getting thrown in your face whenever you want to read that AP post you saved for later, then maybe give Instapaper a try. The only problem is that the app feels a bit abandoned, but it still works just fine for me.
Materialistic - Hacker News
For full disclosure, this app in the roundup at Artem's behest and it does support dark themes. Materialistic is a convenient way to read up on Hacker News. It's a no frills app with a basic reading UI that lets you read up on the comments of a specific post. All in all, it's a nice app and one that I might keep installed.
Medium is a fairly well-known blogging platform. Users submit articles, essays, or treatises and anyone can go read them. It's useful for those who do not want to deal with setting up a personal blog, and you can even follow some of your favorite writers. Obviously, the quality of the work may vary, but at least the app has a dark theme and gives you an estimate of how long it will take to read each piece.
Pocket, like Instapaper, is a service that lets you save web content for offline viewing. It's like cloud bookmarks, and I use it as a quick way to save something that I want to swing back to, but I don't think necessarily warrants a bookmark. The app has gone far beyond a list of your content, though, and some might say it has gone too far. Regardless, it's an app with a dark theme (and true black).
Everyone knows what Wikipedia is, or you should. The website has a grey reputation, since users can edit the individual articles. Even so, it's often a great place to get some basic information on your new favorite geekdom or to start on a long trail of research. The Android app has come a very long way in recent years, and it has a great dark theme.
Reddit: Top News, Trending Memes & Crypto Updates
Accessing Reddit is the easy part; the difficulty comes in trying to decide which app to do so with. If you're stuck and the vehement suggestions from the fans of various third-party solutions have you confused, then I'd suggest starting with the official Reddit app. It gets the job done, looks good, and has a dark theme.
reddit is fun (unofficial)
One of the more popular options out there, reddit is fun (the lowercase name really bugs me) is a powerful third-party Reddit client. It defaults to a compact list view, which feels a bit more like the actual Reddit site. It does support cards, though, so you can change that up. The dark theme is pretty good, and you can even make the card background black if that's your thing.
Sync for reddit
My personal favorite Reddit app, Sync, is great. The options it contains are quite numerous, including a huge selection of themes and customization choices to make the app just the way you want it. I also like the way it's laid out by default, especially the card view on the main (or subreddit) page. It hasn't ever let me down in the long while that I've been using it.
Talon for Twitter
There are many Twitter clients out there, but my favorite third-party one is Talon by Klinker Apps. After Carbon used all of its tokens, I switched to this (having used Klinker's other apps Sliding Messenger and Evolve SMS). Though I tend to use the official app on my phones, I prefer Talon for tablet use since it can go into a dual-pane mode in landscape. There are plenty of customization options from Talon Pull (for notifications) to themes.
Tweetings for Twitter
Tweetings was an alternative suggested to me to solve the notification problem often found in third-party Twitter clients. Talon Pull was consuming too much battery, so in my staunch stance against the official app, I checked out Tweetings. The look and feel is similar to Talon, and it also features a dark mode (the way Twitter is meant to be viewed). While I didn't find what I was seeking, Tweetings is still a great option.
When talking about dark mode apps, Twitter is usually one of the first ones that comes to mind. When it was added, many were overjoyed and breathed a sigh of relief (and possibly yelled "Finally!"). I don't think I need to say much here, but the dark mode is so much better than the default light theme.
JotterPad - Writer, Screenplay, Novel
As a writer, I find that inspiration often comes at the strangest times, most of them inopportune. I've tried writing on my phones in the past, but I never could get behind: 1. how much slower touch typing is than a real keyboard, and 2. how often I would err and need to correct (I have to proofread as I go, part of my workflow). So when I discovered JotterPad not too long ago, I was thrilled. It supports Dropbox/Google Drive sync, markdown support, physical keyboard shortcuts, an integrated dictionary/thesaurus, and much more.
The app does include a dark mode, but it's unfortunately behind a paywall. The "Get Creative!" upgrade isn't cheap, either, so I hesitated to place it in this list — putting a dark theme behind a pro upgrade feels sleazy to me. Oh, well.
Another great writing app is Monospace, a spartan, clean app that gets the job done. It supports Google Drive sync, as well as a true black theme. You can even change the title text color. If you want to write down things on your phone, but don't want to pay to get the dark mode in JotterPad, then Monospace may be worth looking into. I sure am enjoying it so far.
Solid Explorer File Manager
When talking about file managers on Android, I have a hard time not recommending Solid Explorer. Not only is the app feature rich, including mapping network drives and exploring the root storage (with the proper permissions), but it supports dark and black themes. You can also customize the colors to match your style.
QuickEdit Text Editor - Writer, Code Editor
QuickEdit is my go-to text editor, especially when I'm messing around with my pathetic attempts to write code. It's a spectacular app that looks great, performs well, and includes both dark and black themes, both of which are much easier on the eyes. The list of features in QuickEdit is very long, so I encourage you to check it out if you haven't done so already.