Sick of those blaring screens and bright white backgrounds hurting your eyes at night?

We know the feeling. 

There’s a good reason why “Dark Mode” is the latest tech design trend embraced by everyone from Apple to Google. Unfortunately, not every app will automatically give you access to dark mode functionality. 

Take a look at Instagram dark mode, for instance. 

Since the brand’s inception in 2010, Instagram has come a long way. It’s no longer just an app for sharing pictures of your food and your pets. Instagram is one of the most popular social apps in the world.  This is particularly true among younger generations. As new features like Instagram Stories and IGTV continue to dominate, the platform’s influence is growing at break-neck speed. 

There are still some areas where Instagram fails to keep pace. For instance, the app still doesn’t let you have more than one link in your bio, and it’s only just starting to dip its toes into the waters of dark mode functionality for this first time now. 

Not only is Instagram dark mode only available for a handful of users – but it’s also restricted exclusively to Android customers (at least for the time being).

dark mode Android

Courtesy of phonearena.com

Instagram Dark Mode: The Latest News

For those of you who don’t know much about dark mode, the term basically refers to a digital design that swaps the bright white backgrounds on your phone apps, for a largely black-dominant theme. In a world where people are continually trying to reduce their exposure to excessive light from their smartphones, dark mode can offer a more comfortable browsing experience. 

This year, we officially entered the dark mode era, after Apple released its new iOS 13, and Android rolled out Android 10 – both with dark mode options.

Android Dark Mode

Courtesy of Angela Lang/CNET

Of course, just because dark mode might be available on your phone’s OS, doesn’t mean that you can access it on your favorite apps. 

Despite months of mobile users demanding a dark mode function from Instagram on Twitter and other social forums, the channel only recently began to introduce a new format in its most recent update. The 114.0.0.24 beta version of the Instagram app recently allowed the company to take its first steps into the dark side. If you’re part of the beta testing program for Instagram, you may have already seen the option to switch to dark mode – provided that you use an Android device. 

That’s right – this update is only for Android users. 

The decision to deliver dark mode just for Android customers is an odd one – particularly when iPhones are currently the most popular smartphones in the world. If, like many people, you haven’t had a chance to see what Instagram dark mode could look like yet, here’s a behind-the-scenes peek:

Instagram Dark Mode

Courtesy of androidpolice.com

Reports suggest that the beta version of Instagram dark mode works with Samsung’s Night toggle on Android Pie too.

Exploring the Instagram Dark Mode Beta

For the most part, the Instagram dark mode (what we’ve seen of it) seems to maintain most of the original design. The colors within the app are mostly unchanged, and your photos won’t look any different when posted. Instagram’s dark mode will swap the bright white of the news feed with a much darker color that’s easier to view.

Dark Mode Testing

Courtesy of @danyellercarter (Twitter)

To get the update, you need to be running the latest version of the Android OS, as well as the latest version of the Instagram app. Make sure that your app has updated before you start troubleshooting reasons why you can’t access the new feature.

If you’re currently up-to-date and using Android Pie, head over the Developer Options in your phone’s setting and click on “Night Mode” for system-wide dark mode, you’ll want to toggle the option to “Always On” – this will allow Instagram to pick up your dark mode functionality.

Once you switch Instagram dark mode on, you’ll have a mostly black interface with white accents for a handful of logos and buttons. The theme also applies to IGTV, Direct Messages and other internal pages within the app. Although still in beta mode, we think it’s a very attractive theme already – much better than the standard white background.

Unfortunately, not only is Instagram one of the last social media channels to deliver a dark mode theme – but it also hasn’t offered any information on when the feature will be available to all users. There’s a chance that the theme will never be launched completely to everyone. After all, Instagram is always playing with new features that the company eventually scraps. 

The good news?

Since Facebook owns Instagram, our chances of a dark mode are pretty good. The Facebook channel already offers all-around dark mode for iOS and Android users. It’s unlikely that Facebook would deliver that function for one social channel, and not the other. That’s particularly true in an environment where dark mode is so popular.

How to Get Instagram Dark Mode for iOS

The biggest downside for Instagram dark mode right nw, is that there’s nothing available for iOS users. If, like us, your office is packed full of iPhone users, or you have an iPhone yourself – you’re out of luck for now. There’s no way of getting the authentic dark mode for your app that we know of. 

However – you’re not completely done for. 

If you own an iPhone, then you can use the smart-invert feature to change the background colors of all your apps to a more night-friendly dark mode. This feature is easy to set up. 

To smart-invert your iPhone, open the Settings page and then:

  • Go to “General”
  • Click on “Accessibility”
  • Select “Display Accommodations”
  • Tap “Invert Colors”
  • Select “Smart Invert” 
  • Set up an Accessibility shortcut to turn the feature on or off by tapping the screen three times in a row.

Using “Smart Invert” means that the pictures you view on Instagram at night aren’t going to be messed up by traditional inversion. The Smart Invert feature turns black to white and white to black but keeps the colors of images the same. It’s not a perfect solution, but it might be a good option if you can’t get the official version of Instagram dark mode yet:

Instagram screens in dark mode

Courtesy of phonearena.com

Using Third-Party Apps for Instagram Dark Mode

Now, the “Smart Invert” feature of your iPhone works almost as well as the beta Instagram dark mode. However, it’s not going to invert all of the colors on your screen, which means that you can end up with a few problems here and there. If you get sick of the little issues with your dark mode experience, you can always try an alternative and download a third-party app instead. 

For instance, one of the most popular options available today is IGDarkMode, the main issue with using an app like this is that it will only work with the Cydia app – an application used to jailbreak your iPhone. If your iPhone isn’t jailbroken already, using a took like this will void your warranty – so it’s really not recommended.

Instagram Dark Mode

Courtesy of @windroidguy (Twitter)

If you already have a jailbroken iPhone for whatever reason, then you can install IGDarkMode through Cydia and set the application up manually through the Settings section of your phone. Again, we’re not saying you should run out and jailbreak your phone – that’s a good way to put your investment at serious risk. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that this is one of the ways that iPhone users are getting around the lack of an Instagram night mode for iOS.

What About Instagram Night Mode for Desktop?

The chances are that you spend most of your time on Instagram browsing from your smartphone. After all, this social media channel was designed specifically more convenient for mobile users. However, you might also visit Instagram from your desktop computer at times too – perhaps when you’re at work and waiting on your next email. 

If you want to access the same seamless night mode experience on a desktop version of Instagram, then once again, there’s no organic option available. However, you can simply adjust the design of your browser by adding the Night Eye extension, or something similar, to your browser. 

Night Eye is a dedicated night mode extension designed for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome. You can also use it on Opera and Safari too, among other options. If you didn’t write and design your browser yourself, you can probably use Night Eye on it.

Courtesy of Google

The extension is super easy to use and simple to understand. All you need to do is download the extension, and you’ll be able to set the status of your browser to normal, filtered, or dark mode. Under dark mode, all of the colors and images on your screen are converted to a darker palette. 

We’d recommend using the filtered version of the app for Instagram viewing, as the colors on your websites won’t change, but you can adjust the warmth, contrast, and brightness to give you a more comfortable viewing experience. 

Another good thing about Night Eye is that it comes with a range of different service levels, ranging from inexpensive premium options to free.

Are You Eager for an Instagram Dark Mode?

Ultimately, your options for dark mode on Instagram are severely limited at the moment. 

Although the recent experimentation with a beta Instagram dark mode for Android is promising, they’re not exactly what today’s users are looking for. While Android users might be happy with the new version of Instagram, the rest of us are left waiting, hoping that one day the company will deliver a more all-around option for dark mode viewing.

Now that we’re all spending more time in front of our screens, it’s more important than ever to think about how you can look after your eyes. Switch dark mode on for your phone and applications will help to protect your vision and reduce your risk of headaches.

Studies show that after just 20 minutes of screen exposure in a dark room, we can experience a huge increase in eye strain and other common vision problems. Even if you can’t access Instagram dark mode just yet, you can always take extra steps to protect yourself by, for instance:

Remember to stay tuned here at SocialFollow.co for more insights and updates too. We’ll be the first to let you know when an Instagram dark mode is available and ready to use for all users.