A cold shower for iOS 12 dark mode hopes

jonblatho

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With today’s leak of a brief video showing Xcode 10 running on macOS 10.14, many were quick to notice that the new version of macOS has a “Dark Appearance” feature. And it seems logical to assume that, if macOS is getting it, then iOS will, too.

But upon a little further investigation, I noticed a crucial detail that implies iOS might well not be getting the same “Dark Appearance” feature.

First look at the first photo in the linked tweet. On the right-hand side of the Xcode window, we see a storyboard, which developers know allows one to visually lay out the user interface instead of creating everything in code. And in Xcode 9, Apple added a feature for storyboards where you can view how your app’s user interface changes based on certain “traits” by using a bar at the bottom.

Der7HnfW4AAJJmN.jpg


For macOS, this is making its first appearance in Xcode 10 because there was no real concept of traits before now. It’s not like you can rotate your Mac into portrait orientation with ease like you can an iPhone or iPad, for example.

So, there’s a trait for “appearance”—light or dark. We also know that UIKit already supports a trait for “appearance” because tvOS, which uses UIKit just like iOS does, uses that to enable a system-wide dark mode in first- and third-party apps. It’s UITraitCollection.userInterfaceStyle, which can return .light or .dark. This is available on tvOS only, not iOS, because Apple has (pending Monday’s keynote) chosen not to implement it on iOS. So for a tvOS app, the trait bar looks like this:

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 7.19.39 PM.png


Now, many people have taken the dark theme of the iOS app shown in the third image in the linked tweet to imply that iOS will be getting a dark mode, too. Not so fast. Look at that same bar for traits seen at the bottom of the left-hand side of the Xcode window in the third image.

Der7HnkW0AAzqqk.jpg


We see options for device and orientation, which modify the size classes that determine what layout an app should display. (For iPads, it also shows an option where you can account for features like Split View.) We do not see options for the user interface style like on tvOS or macOS.

That’d mean that the app has a dark user interface, but that has nothing to do with any system-level iOS setting, just like some apps already do (for example, Stocks and FaceTime).

Out of curiosity I decided to check to see what happens if the displayed view options extend beyond the viewable width of the bar. They just extend off the edge, so it’s not that Apple is hiding additional controls that can’t be displayed due to the width (unless they’ve changed that behavior in Xcode 10).

TL;DR: Apple’s little leak earlier today suggests that iOS 12 might not get a dark mode. Not saying a dark mode for iOS definitely won’t happen come Monday, but I am saying that you might not want to get your hopes up too high.
 
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Andres Cantu

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That's a good inference based on what we know so far.

If I were Apple though, knowing how many people are asking for a dark mode on iOS, and knowing that iOS 12 is a release that will focus mostly on bug-fixing, I would assume that a dark mode would be an easy way to please people that will inevitably complain about the lack of features. Plus, it would make sense to have it, at least on the X and its successors. Not too much longer to find out!
 

redheeler

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I wonder what the reasoning for keeping this exclusive to MacOS and tvOS would be. It's bad enough that MacOS users had been expecting / wanting a full system-wide dark mode since OS X Yosemite in 2014 and Apple is just now delivering.
 

jonblatho

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Speculation was that it will come for MacOS not iOS12.
Yes, of course, I’m not that stupid, but one may assume and/or hope that it’d come to iOS as well. You can find dozens of such comments on Reddit and on these forums.
[doublepost=1527991532][/doublepost]
I wonder what the reasoning for keeping this exclusive to MacOS and tvOS would be. It's bad enough that MacOS users had been expecting / wanting a full system-wide dark mode since OS X Yosemite in 2014 and Apple is just now delivering.
When you have a decade-plus worth of apps on your platform, it proves difficult to add support for a system-wide dark mode without breaking apps that aren’t updated. It’s not impossible, to be sure, but it’s why the functionality came to a relatively brand-new platform—tvOS—first. Virtually all of those apps that needed updated were being actively maintained anyway as they were less than a year old.
 

redheeler

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When you have a decade-plus worth of apps on your platform, it proves difficult to add support for a system-wide dark mode without breaking apps that aren’t updated. It’s not impossible, to be sure, but it’s why the functionality came to a relatively brand-new platform—tvOS—first. Virtually all of those apps that needed updated were being actively maintained anyway as they were less than a year old.
When you consider that:
  • MacOS also has more than a decade worth of apps;
  • the move to drop 32-bit app support on iOS has already killed off many of the older unsupported apps;
this reasoning starts to fall apart. Clearly developers on MacOS will need to update their apps to make use of the dark mode, and some multi-platform MacOS apps (Discord, Atom, Opera Browser, etc.) with an app-specific dark mode right now will probably just keep their own separate dark mode setting anyway.
 

jonblatho

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When you consider that:
  • MacOS also has more than a decade worth of apps;
  • the move to drop 32-bit app support on iOS has already killed off many of the older unsupported apps;
this reasoning starts to fall apart. Clearly developers on MacOS will need to update their apps to make use of the dark mode, and some multi-platform MacOS apps (Discord, Atom, Opera Browser, etc.) with an app-specific dark mode right now will probably just keep their own separate dark mode setting anyway.
Yes, developers will need to update their apps to make use of Dark Appearance, but let’s look at iOS for the heck of it. If it’s using UIKit’s navigation bar (as apps should) with no theming whatsoever, and the app hasn’t been updated in a few years (but is 64-bit), how does iOS handle it?

Does it force the dark mode, likely to be automatically supported in UIKit, onto older apps that might then break, or does it retain older UIKit elements that might also become broken as they age? As an example, even the system typeface change from Neue Helvetica to San Francisco in iOS 9 wreaked havoc in some apps before they were updated (if ever). It’s definitely not as trivial of an issue as you seem to think it is.
 

Gunplay

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Sep 19, 2015
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Who even cares about dork mode, why would I want iOS to look like some flyblown, ancient version of android.
 

redheeler

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Yes, developers will need to update their apps to make use of Dark Appearance, but let’s look at iOS for the heck of it. If it’s using UIKit’s navigation bar (as apps should) with no theming whatsoever, and the app hasn’t been updated in a few years (but is 64-bit), how does iOS handle it?

Does it force the dark mode, likely to be automatically supported in UIKit, onto older apps that might then break, or does it retain older UIKit elements that might also become broken as they age? As an example, even the system typeface change from Neue Helvetica to San Francisco in iOS 9 wreaked havoc in some apps before they were updated (if ever). It’s definitely not as trivial of an issue as you seem to think it is.
Similar questions can be asked concerning apps running on dark mode in MacOS Mojave. In fact, for MacOS High Sierra there is already a MySIMBL tweak to force-apply the system dark appearance (DarkAppearance.car) to apps that don't otherwise support it.

I have tried the tweak in the past, and as you can imagine it works but also causes plenty of consistency issues with certain elements in certain apps, even Apple's built-in apps that obviously haven't been updated to expect it. So I fail to see how the situation is any different on MacOS Mojave compared to iOS 12.
 

Brandonjr36

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Yes, of course, I’m not that stupid, but one may assume and/or hope that it’d come to iOS as well. You can find dozens of such comments on Reddit and on these forums.
[doublepost=1527991532][/doublepost]
When you have a decade-plus worth of apps on your platform, it proves difficult to add support for a system-wide dark mode without breaking apps that aren’t updated. It’s not impossible, to be sure, but it’s why the functionality came to a relatively brand-new platform—tvOS—first. Virtually all of those apps that needed updated were being actively maintained anyway as they were less than a year old.
The thing that gets me tho is Apple has said that it’s basically impossible since apps have to be updated. But explain to me how these guys that build jailbreak tweaks can do it but multi billion dollar Apple can’t? I mean eclipse X is an amazing dark mode for the iPhone X. And obviously the apps are not updated for eclipse either. But they still managed to do it.
 
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Regime2008

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Who even cares about dork mode, why would I want iOS to look like some flyblown, ancient version of android.
Dork mode? Ancient version of Android? You seem to not have the slightest clue of how many users want dark mode. But let's just go by what YOU want, since you seem to speak for everyone. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Btw "dark" mode consumers much less battery on oled screens. Sure, Apple only has a single device with an oled screen, but at least many can make use of dark mode, vs not having the option at all. Ymmv
 

DNichter

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I’d love a dark mode. I see the all white invite to the event as a little too telling, but I could certainly be wrong. Leaving out iOS doesn’t make a ton of sense. Every year I’ve come away disappointed though so I likely will be again.
 
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bigjnyc

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The thing that gets me tho is Apple has said that it’s basically impossible since apps have to be updated. But explain to me how these guys that build jailbreak tweaks can do it but multi billion dollar Apple can’t? I mean eclipse X is an amazing dark mode for the iPhone X. And obviously the apps are not updated for eclipse either. But they still managed to do it.
Because they are full of it, they are spin doctors who spin marketing BS that average consumers eat up, those who are a bit more tech savvy know better.... but it’s such a small part of their customer base that it really doesn’t matter.
 

JPack

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As long as the notch exists, there won't be dark mode for iOS.

Apple is not about to hide their trademark design feature to satisfy a small fraction of users.
 

Brandonjr36

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As long as the notch exists, there won't be dark mode for iOS.

Apple is not about to hide their trademark design feature to satisfy a small fraction of users.
That’s not true. Look at smart invert it does the same thing as what your talking about. Just looks like crap.
 

Dwalls90

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Still could be tho. Might not of mentioned it. They never mention every single feature. And Just like smart invert they never said one thing about that.
Maybe dark made made the cut for the MacOS presentation but not iOS? It would seem odd the Mac gets a UI feature that iOS wouldn't.
 

AppleFan91

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Maybe dark made made the cut for the MacOS presentation but not iOS? It would seem odd the Mac gets a UI feature that iOS wouldn't.
At the same time, looks like dark mode is essentially the leading presented feature for macOS Mojave.
Has to be coming to iOS. Apparently not today or with iOS 12. But with 12.1-12.4 or 13. It's coming. there's no way tvOS, WatchOS and MacOS all have a dark mode or something close to it and iOS doesn't have one coming. It may have been moved to iOS 13 with the revamped home screen, etc.
 
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AppleFan91

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"Some of us are going to want to run Dark Mode just because... it's so cool."

Yeah, it would be cool on iOS devices, too.

<hhhrrrmmmpph!>
reminds me of when they bashed LCD displays compared to OLED displays before bringing OLED to the iPhone. Dark Mode is coming to iOS. Just not in iOS 12.0 apparently.
 
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