Say what you will about Apple – from their over priced phones to their USB-C-only Macs – the one thing you cannot fault them on is their ability to execute an idea. Oh, they might not be first, but they are always last. They are the ones people look to for inspiration. Tablets were done before, now you hear people talk about the new Samsung iPad. Phones were done before, and now every phone has a notch. Headphone jacks worked perfectly fine, until Apple decided they didn’t. 

Windows 10 shipped with a Dark Mode. A setting to allow everything to go black. Modern computers, after all, are black boxes connected to black screens. Beige is right out. And the dark side of life looks a whole lot better than the bright, flat white. And for a while, everyone was happy. 

Enter Mac OS Mojave X, with Siri sitting High on Sierra or what ever they have taken to calling it these days. And with one foul swoop, Apple have shown the world what a true dark mode should be. They thought about it, how it should work, look and feel, instead of just inverting the colors and heading to the pub.

Just look at Finder compared to File Explorer

Windows 10 Dark Mode still seems like an experiment, like a work in progress. File Explorer has just gotten a dark mode and it’s great! One of the better dark mode themes in Windows 10. I say themes, because no app on Windows 10 can agree on how exactly to do dark mode. File explorer has this lovely grey to the background while Photos is pitch black. Skype returns to the lovely grey, while feedback hub is, yet again, soul-suckingly black. The Store decides to return to the grey along with the lovely Calendar app, but then the Movies & TV app goes all the way to 0,0,0 on the RGB scale. Even Edge itself sits on the some things are pitch black, and other things on the soft grey fence.

Photos on Mac looks like its from the 90s

And then some items are back to bright white… Open Task Manager, for example. 

Task manager manages to blind you

Now, look at OS X Maverick Mojave – the dark mode is a selection of dark greys. It’s all uniform. The Finder looks a whole lot nicer to look at. The photos app (while still managing to look like its from the 90s), has a really great dark mode. And just look at the settings – which one makes you feel warm and inviting? 

Color picker settings shows off the gist of the settings app

What I would like to see, is Windows Dark Mode being reigned in a bit – give the apps the same palette to work from. You know, give the app devs some guidelines – these are the colors we use and when. Right now its a bit of a mish mash of what everyone thinks a dark mode should be. And honestly – its been 3 years. Three whole years to get this right, and Apple did it in one… 

I write these posts, not to throw shade (haha – get it? Shade on a post about dark mode), but because I really want Microsoft to succeed with Windows 10. I know its got like 700 million installs, but it could be something people want to use, instead of have to. It could be beautiful, instead of adequate. I know, I know – they are fixing a lot in the background, and the 20 plus years of backCompat to ensure all your programs run as you expect, is no small feat. But the interface is what draws people in, its what people use every day when they use Windows. Surely those people deserve to use something beautiful?

PS: Don’t even get me started on Outlook 2019 in Dark Mode… 

Categories: Windows Insider