While the Smart Invert feature was an excellent first step toward a dark mode, it's nowhere near what a true dark mode should be for iPhone. After years of rumors and disappointment, Apple finally has the dark mode everyone's been wanting, and it's one of the biggest new features in iOS 13 you can try out right now in the iOS 13 beta.
Dark modes have gained popularity with app developers — big names like Gboard, Google Maps, Messenger, Slack, Twitter, and YouTube already have it. But there are still a ton of iOS apps that don't, and Apple can help solve that issue with its built-in Dark Mode. Apple has been promoting iOS apps that "look great in dark mode," and it even included a real dark mode in macOS Mojave that helps users focus on their work, so the signs were all there that iOS 13 was destined for the feature.
Apple's Night Shift helps keep sleep-preventing blue lights at bay, but dark modes, sometimes called night modes, are another option for people who don't dig the yellow hue that Night Shift emits. There may be some blue lights to deal with in dark modes, but it's easier to see items as they should be on the screen, and you can lower the brightness of the display with the Low Light filter and Reduce White Point setting.
Dark modes also have other benefits. It looks better, depending on your preferences, that bright white pages. And it can help save a little battery, especially on devices with OLED displays, such as the iPhone X, XS, and XS Max. While there is some battery improvement on other iPhone models, OLED models will see the most significant battery improvement because the pixels won't need to be lit up at all for black areas, and they won't need to use the full RGB spectrum for gray areas.
To use Dark Mode on your iPhone in iOS 13, open up the Control Center. Next, long-press the display brightness control, and you'll see a new "Appearance Light" button. Tap that to enable Dark Mode, which will turn the button into "Appearance Dark." It would be better if the Dark Mode were its own control, so you don't have to do extra tapping, but it's better than nothing.
Here's a before-and-after look at the App Store:
If you're not a fan of the Control Center, you can also access Dark Mode via the Settings app. Open it up, then tap "Display & Brightness." Right away, you'll see the Appearance section up top. Simply check "Dark" instead of "Light" to get the dark view.
Dark mode can also be scheduled, so you can turn it on automatically at sunset, the default option, or at any custom time you want. You can also set a time for it to go back to Light Mode at sunrise, the default, or whatever time you need it to be bright white again.
In the "Display & Brightness" settings, tap on the toggle next to "Automatic." It will automatically set it to "Sunset to Sunrise," but you can change by tapping the "Options" item. On the Appearance Schedule screen, tap "Custom Schedule," and you can adjust the times individually for "Light Appearance" and "Dark Appearance."
When activating a schedule, you can still enable or disable Dark Mode in the Control Center. However, the buttons will not either say "Appearance Light Until Sunset" or "Appearance Dark Until Sunrise." When you manually change to Light or Dark Mode from here, the schedule will stay in place, and you'll just be shortening or lengthening the scheduled times for one of the appearances.