Dark mode for WhatsApp: everything you need to know

Dark mode for WhatsApp is expected to appear very soon, and we’ve managed to glean several hints and previews suggesting what it will look like when it arrives.

Since the launch of Android 10 and iOS 13, both of which feature their own system-wide dark modes, developers have been rushing to create dark versions of their apps. Google Chrome, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have smart dark options available, but so far WhatsApp has remained pale and interesting. That all looks likely to change, though.

If you want to be the first to try dark mode for WhatsApp when it arrives, we recommend joining the beta program so you’ll be able to test it before it rolls out worldwide. If you use an Android device, you can sign up and download the beta through the Google Play Store.

The beta program for iOS is currently full, but it could re-open at any time. If it does, you’ll need to install TestFlight on your device, then sign up to join the program.

What to expect

According to WABetaInfo, which specializes in dissecting WhatsApp beta releases, the app’s developers are currently working on a dark mode for its iOS and Android apps, and optimizing the new design before its release.

WhatsApp dark mode

Exploring the WhatsApp beta’s install files reveals various assets labelled ‘night mode’, including these new black and dark teal message bubbles

Even if you’re a member of the beta program, you won’t see an option to activate dark mode, but trawling through the app’s APK files reveals various graphic assets that will be used when it’s eventually released.

It looks like the new color scheme will be mainly dark blue/green rather than black or gray, and will be activated automatically if you’ve selected your phone’s system-wide dark mode. The app’s splash screen is also expected to be darkened, which will avoid the problem some apps have where a person using dark mode is startled by an unexpected burst of white light.

WhatsApp’s sticker and emoji menus have been updated with dark backgrounds, and developers have been hard at work adapting the app’s signature message bubbles to suit the new look.

WhatsApp dark mode wallpaper

This will be the default wallpaper for WhatsApp’s new dark mode

We could also see a handful of other new features arriving along with dark mode, including self-destructing messages that are deleted after a certain period of time. Based on leaked screengrabs, it looks as though you’ll be able to set messages to be erased after a period between five minutes and an hour.

Rival messaging apps Facebook Messenger, Telegram and Signal already offer a similar feature, so it’s an overdue addition to WhatsApp.

Beta releases have also revealed a new option that will allow you to completely hide updates from muted contacts. Currently, if you mute a contact, their updates will appear grayed out, but still visible. When the new update rolls out, you’ll be able to hide them fully, and only see them if you choose to.

When it’s coming

We don’t yet know; WhatsApp’s developers don’t appear to be in any hurry to complete and release the app’s dark mode, and have yet to reveal when the option will become available.

When WhatsApp finally receives its dark makeover, we’ll provide full instructions explaining how to activate it and start messaging in style.

Other ways to extend battery life in WhatsApp

One of the main reasons you might want to try dark mode for WhatsApp is to extend battery life, but there are other ways to make the app less power-hungry until the setting becomes available.

Enter the app’s settings, select ‘Chats’ and tap ‘Wallpaper’, then choose ‘Solid color’ and select something darker than the standard pale gray background. This won’t change the color of the message bubbles, menus and other interface elements, but Google’s research has found that black pixels drain substantially less power than other colors.

WhatsApp wallpapers

It’s not the same as an actual dark mode, but switching to a black wallpaper can help save a little battery life when you’re using WhatsApp

By default, WhatsApp will download a lot of files in the background, which can really drain your phone’s battery, so you can also conserve power by opening WhatsApp’s settings and selecting ‘Data and storage usage’.

Here. you can choose when media should be downloaded (when you’re using mobile data, when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, and when you’re roaming). If you turn these off, videos and images sent in messages will only be downloaded when you tap them.

Activating your phone’s own power-saving mode is another way to make it last longer between charges. Depending on which setting you choose, this may turn down the brightness of your screen, stop apps sending and receiving data when they run in the background, and limit CPU speed. It’s up to you whether you’re willing to take the performance hit in order to extend your battery life.

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