Recently, I bought the OnePlus 3T, and thanks to its AMOLED screen, I’ve officially gone to the dark side by using tons of dark-themed apps.
That’s because the dark side looks amazing on an AMOLED display. When a pixel is black, AMOLED screens just doesn’t power up that particular pixel (unlike LCD screens, which can’t turn off individual pixels). This means you get true blacks. Plus, this ends up saving a bit of battery life as well, since a lot of the pixels aren’t even being used.
If you have an Android phone with an AMOLED screen — like the new Pixel phones, most Samsung devices, or a OnePlus device, among others — you should also embrace the dark side. Even if your device doesn’t have an AMOLED screen, I’d still recommend checking out the dark themes in the apps below. They’re still pretty cool.
1. Fenix [No Longer Available]
Fenix is hands down the best third party Twitter client for Android, and it has a really cool AMOLED black theme. You can enable it from Settings > Appearance > Theme. And once you do, your entire Twitter experience will change.
Download — Fenix for Twitter ($3.49)
2. Textra SMS
Textra is the alternative SMS app you should already be using. The dark theme just sweetens the deal.
Go to Settings > Customize Look and from Screen Colors, select Black. This will turn the background into pitch black.
Download — Textra SMS (Free)
3. Nova Launcher
When setting up Nova Launcher, you can enable dark mode. This sets a dark background for the app drawer, the Google widget, and the settings screen. Choose a dark background for the home screen, and you’re good to go.
Download — Nova Launcher (Free)
4. Solid Explorer
Now that ES is no longer the file explorer it used to be, Solid Explorer has emerged as the file explorer. I’m a solid fan because the app provides the powerful features a geek needs, wrapped in an interface that’s pleasant to the eyes. The dark mode is an added delight.
From Settings, select Theme and switch to either Black or Auto Light + Black.
Download — Solid Explorer (Free)
5. Weather Underground
Weather Underground is a feature rich weather app. You can customize it to your heart’s content using tiles. Plus, it has a cool dark mode. Once enabled, the dark mode also extends to the sticky notification, which is a nice bonus.
Download — Weather Underground (Free)
6. Sync for Reddit
You’re going to end up browsing Reddit for hours anyway, so you might as well do it in style. There’s no shortage of awesome Reddit apps on Android, and chances are that your Reddit app of choice already supports an AMOLED black theme (customization options tend to be top priorities for Reddit apps).
Download — Sync for Reddit (Free)
7. Shuttle Music Player
It’s no secret that the Play Music app is a bit too basic — and so white and bright! If you’re looking for an alternative music player, consider Shuttle.
The app is feature rich and customizable. It’s not as confusing to navigate as Play Music sometimes can be. You can switch between different accent colors, and of course, there’s a delicious dark mode that’s totally worth writing home about.
Download — Shuttle Music Player (Free)
8. VLC for Android
VLC will play almost anything under the sun. The app is free, fast, and free of ads. The awesome dark mode is the cherry on top. From Settings, select Interface, and check the Enable the black theme option.
Download — VLC for Android (Free)
9. Contacts and Dialer by Simpler
If your built-in dialer app doesn’t have a dark mode, it’s time for some change. While there are many feature-packed dialer apps out there, they’re often confusing to use.
You just want to use the dialer to make phone calls, and this is where Contacts & Dialer by Simpler shines. As the name suggests, it keeps things simple — and the dark mode keeps things cool.
From Settings, go to Style, tap on Dark mode and select Black. That should do the trick.
Download — Contacts & Dialer by Simpler (Free)
Android’s default keyboard has been rebranded as Gboard. It now integrates a Google search bar right inside the keyboard. Equally as exciting is the newly added theme support. After tapping the G button, tap on the theme button. You’ll find a couple of dark themes here. Scroll down to the bottom to find the black themes.
Alternatively, if SwiftKey is more up your alley, you’ll find plenty of dark themes for that keyboard in its store.
Download — Gboard (Free)
Pocket is the best read-later service for Android. With the new recommended feature, it’s gotten even better, and the dark mode helps you get through your reading list faster and with less eye strain.
Download — Pocket (Free)
Feedly might not be the most feature-filled RSS app around, but it’s simple, works well, and has a killer dark mode.
Download — Feedly (Free)
As simple note-taking apps go, Monospace is extra special. Not only is it minimal and fast, it also supports Markdown. Plus, it uses a dark theme by default.
Download — Monospace (Free)
14. Google Play Books
There’s nothing worse than late night eye strain when you’re trying to get through that last chapter. Google Play Book’s dark mode makes things a bit easier.
Download — Google Play Books (Free)
Use the Built-In Dark Mode
The OnePlus 3/3T comes with a built-in dark mode that itself is really cool. It adds a black theme to the settings app, the app drawer, the notification panel, and the dialer.
You’ll find a dark mode theme for some other devices as well. Search around to see if your AMOLED device has a true black theme.
Once you’ve done all this, the last move is to install a cool black wallpaper. You could do the boring thing and just go with a pitch black one, but I suggest you take a look at the Black wallpapers series [No Longer Available]. They’re generated using shapes and lights, which end up creating sweet patterns on a pitch black background.
How have you customized your Android device? What kinds of themes or icon packs are you using? Share with us in the comments below.