Guides
Plan-enterprise-icon
Expo Application Services
API Reference

Light and dark modes

Learn how to support light and dark modes in your app.


Regardless of whether you are personally on team light or team dark, it's becoming increasingly common for apps to support these two color schemes. This guide explains how you can do that.

Configuration

Both managed and bare projects for Android and iOS require additional configuration to support switching between light and dark modes. No additional configuration is required for the web.

Managed projects

Configure your supported appearance styles in app.json/app.config.js with the userInterfaceStyle key. You can also configure specific platforms to support different appearance styles by setting either android.userInterfaceStyle or ios.userInterfaceStyle to the preferred value.

The available options are automatic (follow system appearance settings and notify about any change user makes), light (restrict the app to support light theme only), and dark (restrict the app to support dark theme only). If this key is absent, the app will default to the light style. Here is an example configuration:

app.json
{
  "expo": {
    "userInterfaceStyle": "automatic"
  }
}

In EAS Build and development builds you'll need to install the native module expo-system-ui otherwise the userInterfaceStyle property will be ignored. Running expo config --type introspect will warn if the project is misconfigured:

» android: userInterfaceStyle: Install expo-system-ui in your project to enable this feature.

Bare projects

Android configuration

Info-icon

Appearance locking requires react-native@0.63.3 to work correctly.

Ensure that the uiMode flag is present on your MainActivity (and any other activities where this behavior is desired) in AndroidManifest.xml:

<activity
...
android:configChanges="keyboard|keyboardHidden|orientation|screenSize|uiMode">

Implement the onConfigurationChanged method in MainActivity.java (react-native@0.63.3 don't need this):

import android.content.Intent; // <--- import
import android.content.res.Configuration; // <--- import
public class MainActivity extends ReactActivity {
  ......
  @Override
  public void onConfigurationChanged(Configuration newConfig) {
    super.onConfigurationChanged(newConfig);
    Intent intent = new Intent("onConfigurationChanged");
    intent.putExtra("newConfig", newConfig);
    sendBroadcast(intent);
  }
  ......
}

iOS configuration

You can configure supported styles with the UIUserInterfaceStyle key in your app Info.plist. Use Automatic to support both light and dark modes.

Detecting the color scheme

To detect the color scheme in our application, we can use Appearance and/or useColorScheme from react-native:

import { Appearance, useColorScheme } from 'react-native';

You will probably want to use the useColorScheme() hook:

function MyComponent() {
  let colorScheme = useColorScheme();

  if (colorScheme === 'dark') {
    // render some dark thing
  } else {
    // render some light thing
  }
}

In some cases, you may find it helpful to get the current color scheme imperatively with Appearance.getColorScheme() and/or listen to changes with Appearance.addChangeListener.

Example

Info-icon

Don't forget to configure your project to support the automatic color scheme as described above in Configuration.

useColorScheme example
import React from 'react';
import { Text, StyleSheet, View, useColorScheme } from 'react-native';
import { StatusBar } from 'expo-status-bar'; // automatically switches bar style based on theme!

export default function App() {
  const colorScheme = useColorScheme();

  const themeTextStyle = colorScheme === 'light' ? styles.lightThemeText : styles.darkThemeText;
  const themeContainerStyle =
    colorScheme === 'light' ? styles.lightContainer : styles.darkContainer;

  return (
    <View style={[styles.container, themeContainerStyle]}>
      <Text style={[styles.text, themeTextStyle]}>Color scheme: {colorScheme}</Text>
      <StatusBar />
    </View>
  );
}

const styles = StyleSheet.create({
  container: {
    flex: 1,
    alignItems: 'center',
    justifyContent: 'center',
  },
  lightContainer: {
    backgroundColor: '#d0d0c0',
  },
  darkContainer: {
    backgroundColor: '#242c40',
  },
  lightThemeText: {
    color: '#242c40',
  },
  darkThemeText: {
    color: '#d0d0c0',
  },
});

Tips

While you're developing, you may want to change your simulator's or device's appearance.

  • If working with an iOS emulator locally, you can use the Cmd ⌘ + Shift + A shortcut to toggle between light and dark mode.
  • If using an Android Emulator, you can run adb shell "cmd uimode night yes" to enable dark mode, and adb shell "cmd uimode night no" to disable dark mode.
  • If using a real device or an Android Emulator, you can toggle the system dark mode setting in the device's settings.
  • Snack is locked to light mode.
  • Message-iconAsk a question on the forums
  • Edit-iconEdit this page

Was this doc helpful?