O Whatsapp is preparing a dark theme for the iPhone that will be able to interact natively with the dark mode iOS 13: a beta version reveals that it will be possible to choose between different versions of dark mode, with black or gray background in the app. The feature will also arrive at some point for Android.
According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp for iPhone dark mode will have three different settings, two of which already appear in the code of a beta version of the application (126.96.36.199). This has not yet been released to users.
One of these settings uses black for the background, and dark gray for areas that contain text, such as the bottom bar with the Conversations, Calls and Settings buttons. The second option features a dark gray background, and a slightly lighter tone behind text elements.
You can compare these two alternatives in the image below:
Both have the same design for the message balloons:
The third configuration is unknown as it has not yet been implemented. I hope it is a completely black background for the interface, even in areas that contain text.
Dark mode saves battery with black or gray background
There is a small dispute between dark mode enthusiasts: some prefer a 100% black background, while others say that the gray color offers better contrast and legibility. Both alternatives help to save battery in cell phones with OLED screens: in this type of display, the pixels do not light up (in the case of black) or emit little light and consume less energy (in the case of gray).
O XDA Developers did the test and found that on an OLED screen, the black background uses almost as much battery as the dark gray color. A OnePlus 7 Pro consumed 600 mW when displaying a 100% black image for five minutes, against 610 mW of dark gray. (To display a 100% white image, it was 1,000 mW.)
In other words, the dispute “black background x gray background” is more a matter of personal preference. Therefore, it would be interesting for applications to adopt both modes, as WhatsApp appears to be doing on the iPhone.
On Android, WhatsApp is also developing a dark mode: it has a gray background, following Google’s guidelines for Material Design. Fortunately, it will be possible to use dark mode in the application without activating it system-wide.