Android Engineer Explains the Lack of Night and Dark Mode in Android 7.0 Nougat

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 20 Jul 2016

android nougat

With the first few Developer Preview of Android M (a.k.a Marshmallow), Google offered a Dark mode option for the OS. However, the feature was missing from the final release of the OS. Many presumed that the feature was not ready and would be making its way to the next release of the OS.

And sure enough, Dark mode was present in the first Developer Preview of Android N (Nougat) as well. However, Google soon confirmed to the disappointment of many that the Dark mode will not be making its way to the final release of the OS. The Android engineering team over at Google have now detailed in their AMA on Reddit as to why the feature did not make the cut despite being present in the Developer Preview builds.

Alan, one of the Android engineers over at Google, says that implementing a dark theme for the OS means twice the amount of design and verification work to make sure it is implemented properly. Additionally, in some apps like WebView (Chrome), it is not possible to offer content in a dark theme without preserving the way the original author wants it to be displayed. And since Google does not want to leave a half-baked feature in the OS, he had to personally kill the feature twice. The engineer does note that since there is a dark theme support in the library, many apps can still take advantage of it if they want to.

Alan also revealed that Night Mode in Nougat, similar to Night Shift-like mode in iOS, will not be ready for the final release of the OS, and thus will be removed from it.

The latter, screen tinting, was built on top of the display accessibility APIs introduced in M. This was another “ultimately for the benefit of the platform” issue… The feature needed serious work, both on the low-level graphics driver side to implement tinting efficiently and the high-level TwilightManager side to correctly implement automatic shifts between day and night. It wouldn’t be ready in time for N, and it wasn’t acceptable to leave a half-working feature, so we had to pull it.

The whole AMA makes for a pretty interesting read especially if you are a developer, so make sure to go through it.

[Via Reddit]