Google has been teasing a dark theme for Maps for a year now, and after some code surfaced that pointed to traces of a dark mode in version 10.50 of the app, we got our first look at a proper, finished night-compatible theme in version 10.51.1 in September. That limited server-side update only affected a few users and was very quickly rolled back. The Maps team seems ready to share its dark mode again with the world as a few users have noticed it on their devices now.

After the short-lived and restricted test in September, we didn't hear a peep about Maps dark mode until today. Our tipster, Bubu, told us he got it on v10.56.1 (APK Mirror) this morning. A couple of Twitter users are also sharing the happy news, so it seems that the feature is spreading, but it's activated server-side. Many of us are on that same Maps version and don't see a dark theme option.

The wait for the dark mode is worth it, though. It's well executed and makes it easy to make out streets and houses, losing little to no clarity compared to the light theme. That's essential for a navigation app and might be the reason why it took this long, though the navigation night/tunnel mode could've probably served as a template.

All other interface elements are also available in shades of gray, and almost all bright accent colors have been switched for more muted pastels. A toggle has been added to settings that allows you to use Maps in dark mode at all times (or never), if you prefer. Here are more screenshots of it in action and with various layers.

As far as we can tell from our tests, the dark theme is dependent on a server-side switch, so installing the latest version of Maps won't get you there. It's still a good idea to stay up-to-date, as it might help you get in on the new interface faster. You can download the latest release from the Play Store or get it over at APK Mirror.

Rolling out again

This post was initially published in September when the first rollout happened. It has now been updated with information about the current, and possibly wider, rollout in December.

Maps - Navigate & Explore
Maps - Navigate & Explore
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free
  • Thanks:
  • Guilherme Vier,
  • Ramit Suri,
  • Armando,
  • Bubu