How To: Force-Enable Dark Mode in Gmail for Android Right Now

Force-Enable Dark Mode in Gmail for Android Right Now

Dark mode is finally rolling out for Gmail on Android. But this is a Google product, so you already know it'll be a while before the server-side update hits most devices. Sideloading the newest APK doesn't work, neither does switching accounts. But if you're rooted, you can enable dark mode by modifying a simple XML.

Start by opening your favorite root-enabled file browser. You'll need one that has a built-in text editor. If yours doesn't, we recommend Solid Explorer. Once you're squared away, head to the following folder from the root partition on your device:

data\data\com.google.android.gm\shared_prefs\

Once inside, long-press the FlagPrefs.xml file, then tap the three-dot menu button in the bottom-right and choose "Open with." From there, select the SE Text Editor on the prompt.

Now you'll need to find the following line. It should be the second line in the XML, but if not, you can use the "Find" feature in SE Text Editor's overflow menu to search for it:

<boolean name="DarkThemeSupport__dark_theme_support" value="false" />

The "false" at the end is why you don't already have dark mode. So change that to read "true" instead. When you're done, tap the save icon near the top-right corner.

Now, just force-stop and reopen the Gmail app. Head to the "Settings" option in the side navigation menu and select "General Settings." From there, the first option should be "Theme." Select "Dark" here, or if you're on Android 10 with the system-wide dark mode enabled, you can choose "System Default" to have Gmail match your phone's dark mode status.

We've heard that some people aren't seeing the above option after editing the XML, though we're not sure why it doesn't work for everyone. It could be this requires Android 9 or higher, or perhaps your system language needs to be set to US English. You should also be running Gmail version 2019.08.18.267044774 or higher.

But for most people, the above trick should work. Now you should be looking at a dark gray version of Gmail with Material Design 2 elements. It's definitely sharp!

Cover image and screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

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5 Comments

Changed xml value to "true", but no change. Changed another related theme value to "true", still nothing. When I start gmail, it flashes dark grey quickly, then stops to white. There's still no theme setting, so how much of this is server side? I have the latest version. Even my ipad's gmail app doesn't have that setting, could this be hardware/account related?

I'd really like to know that myself. Hopefully more people will report in so we can get more data points and find the root of the issue.

EDIT: Oops, forgot to add my own data points:

Pixel 3 XL on Android 10, rooted with Magisk, running Gmail version 2019.08.18.267044774, system language set to US English. WORKING

OnePlus 6 on Android 9, rooted with Magisk, running Gmail version 2019.08.18.26704474, system language set to US English. WORKING

Why even bother? Got root? Yes, you do. Use swift installer. And no, iOS doesn't have similiar configs you can unless you painfully jailbroke it.

Lame, just use swift installer.... This is too much work just to obtain an overdue dark mode

The funny thing is that every other google app, except the playstore, has dark mode. I disable the playstore after updating, that's why it's not dark. Changed value, per article, but no dice. Running aosip rom, with Magisk, and kernel adituor. Update 10/11/19. Still no gmail dark mode, latest app, no theme setting at all. Got the playstore dark mode, messages, keep, phone.. C'mon Google, I know it's you! 10/24/19...... Boo google! I wonder how many users are not getting it, because they still have pie, it's gotta be a lot.

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