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Chrome for Android’s finally getting a dark mode – but you can’t use it

Google’s added a dark mode to its latest Chrome Beta, following widespread calls for the feature.

The dark mode will feature on the Chrome 76 Beta which is available on Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows now.

The developer release listed it as a precursor step to potentially adding a dark mode to the consumer version of Chrome and key step to help the browser integrate with the operating systems.

“Many operating systems now support inverted color schemes with a system setting referred to as ‘dark theme’ or ‘dark mode’, depending on the system,” read the release.

“The prefers-color-scheme media query allows a website or web app to adopt the preferred display mode of the user.”

Related: Dark mode apps

This means you won’t be able to access it on the regular consumer release of Chrome, at the moment. The beta also adds improvements to the way the browser handles payments APIs – the tech that handles payments and transaction systems.

Dark modes are an increasingly common feature on many apps and operating systems. Mac OS Catalina is set to feature a whole OS dark mode. Google’s already added dark modes to many of its applications.

The company added dark mode functionality to its Search and Discover services during its latest beta. Android Q also features support for a dark mode, which will hopefully feature on the final consumer release of the new OS.

Android Q is the developer preview of the next version of Google’s mobile operating system, which is expected to appear on the fabled Pixel 4. Both Android Q and the rumoured Pixel 4 are expected to be unveiled in October.

Dark modes are popular for a variety of reasons. First, because they look awesome. But second, and more importantly, because they can radically improve a device’s battery life.

If used on a phone, tablet or laptop with an OLED screen this is because they majority of the UI is black or grey on most dark modes. This reduces the number of pixels OLED screens need to charge, thus reducing the amount of power used.

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