Set up Your App for Dark Mode on iOS 13

Apple launched the much-awaited iOS 13 updates globally on September 19 across all iPhones launched within the past 4 years (up until the iPhone 6s).

One of the biggest features of this update is the system-wide dark mode, which is expected to help with eye-strain caused due to white light emitted by smartphone displays.

While this feature is a joy to end-consumers using apple devices, it’s a task for iOS developers to prepare an app ready for the iOS 13 dark-mode.

How to Set up your App for Dark Mode on iOS 13?

To help developers with the same here is a post showing how they can prep up an existing iOS app for iOS 13 dark mode.

  • It’s not too hard to implement iOS 13 dark mode despite its system-wide scale.
  • Enabling iOS 13 dark mode on your existing app is as simple mostly thanks to the latest iOS 13 SDK.

When using the aforementioned latest version to build apps for iOS 13 dark mode, the OS will automatically update switches, buttons & table views among other system controls. Though it should be noted that images and text colors won’t adjust for the dark mode automatically.

However, it’s still amazing to see that a system-wide change such as the iOS 13 dark mode is so easy to implement. There are lesser code changes and more work that you could get done by the saved time.

How to Adapt Colors For iOS 13 Dark Mode?

First, let’s start with changing system colors for iOS 13 dark mode:

Now there are new system colors added in UIColor, one of which is a label color. Using these new colors helps support dark mode and other high contrast modes in iOS.

label.color = UIColor.secondaryLabel

Generally, it is recommended using system colors for iOS 13 dark mode, which automatically adapts to changes in the interface for maintaining consistency across apps. However, developers can also choose to implement dark mode with custom colors.

The asset catalog colors introduced with iOS 11 make it much easier to support dark mode by adding dark versions of a custom set of colors.

You only have to select a preferred color from the catalog, then change Appearances to Any, Dark from the Attributes Inspector.

That’s it! Now you have a custom iOS 13 dark mode ready for your mobile app.

Let’s say your app not following iOS 13’s dark mode. What will you do? I’m a developer & IT analyst at ValueCoders IT Outsourcing Company and telling you some easy steps to solve this issue.

Step 1

You will need to know if the app is updated or not.

If the app is not working with Dark Mode or does not support it, simply update the app via Apple Store.

Step 2

Check whether the Dark Mode of your iOS app have been enabled or not.

If not, go to Settings – Display & Brightness – check “Dark” is enabled or not.

Step 3

If your app is fully updated, but isn’t working with iOS 13’s Dark Mode, then check the in-app settings. Refer the below-given image:

Adapt Images For iOS 13 Dark Mode

Most images look great in dark mode, and at times they pop out in a way that really highlights details. However, you may still end up finding some images which look a bit off or unsuitable for dark mode.

The good news is that you can adjust images for dark mode in the same way how text is adjusted.

All you need to do is select the image in the catalog and as done previously, change attributes to Any, Dark in the Attributes Inspector. Now add the dark appearance of the image and we’re done.

Programmatically Detecting Changes in iOS 13 Dark Mode

Developers could face situations where they need to implement appearance changes in iOS 13 dark mode programmatically. This is how it’s done

override func traitCollectionDidChange(_ previousTraitCollection: UITraitCollection?) 

    let userInterfaceStyle = traitCollection.userInterfaceStyle // Either .unspecified, .light, or .dark
    // Update your user interface based on the appearance

Overriding traitCollectionDidChange helps in detecting appearance changes.

Then we only have to open traitCollection.userInterfaceStyle.

You can also verify if the existing appearance is using a new method you just implemented:

override func traitCollectionDidChange(_ previousTraitCollection: UITraitCollection?) {

    let hasUserInterfaceStyleChanged = previousTraitCollection.hasDifferentColorAppearance(comparedTo: traitCollection) // Bool
    // Update your user interface based on the appearance

Overriding the User Interface Style

  1. Complete App

The system automatically opts-in any app linked against the iOS 13.0 or later SDK to both light and dark appearances. If you need extra time to work on your app’s Dark Mode support or want to keep your app in a single style, you can opt-out by including the UIUserInterfaceStyle key (with a value of Light or Dark) in your app’s Info.plist file. Setting this key causes the system to ignore the user’s preference and always apply the specific appearance to your app.

Note: Supporting Dark Mode is strongly encouraged. Use the UI UserInterfaceStyle key to opt-out only temporarily while you work on improvements to your app’s Dark Mode support.

2. Specific Screens

In iOS 13, you can now override the user interface style on specific views or view controllers. For example, you may want only a certain view controller to be in dark mode, while the rest of your app is in light mode.

To override the user interface style, just override this variable in the top view or view controller and it will propagate down to sub-views:

// Inside a UIViewController
override func viewDidLoad() 

    // Always adopt a dark interface style.    
    overrideUserInterfaceStyle = .dark

Closing Notes

Thanks for reading the article! Here we’ve explored how to set up an app for iOS 13 dark mode. The dark mode brings with it a unique stress-free way to use a smartphone. Perhaps we’ll see a future where dark mode replaces the default mode with the whiter backgrounds. By following these coding guidelines and tips you can easily set up your app for dark mode on iOS 13.

If you need some experts help, you can contact or hire iOS developers to start your preparation. Feel free to get in touch for help on iOS 13 dark mode related queries.

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