For some it is easy readability, for others it is better battery life, and for a few more it just looks better. It wouldn’t be unjust to say that users want a “dark mode” for all apps and even a default option on Android.
At the recent F8 2018 conference organized by Facebook, the company revealed plans for most of its products including the popular messaging apps – WhatsApp and Messenger. While Instagram got a new Explore feed, announcements of Messenger were paired with promises of a new design – WhatsApp did not qualify for a redesign.
Along with the new design, Messenger VP David Marcus also teased a dark mode coming to the app. So we thought why not WhatsApp, as it’s anyway used by more people, and it definitely could use a dark mode. In fact, many offshoots of WhatsApp and Substratum themes are only popular because of the dark mode they bring.
Then there’s the fact that WhatsApp is more used than Messenger or Instagram. Numbers vouch for its fame, with nearly 1.5 billion monthly users – that’s about one-fifth of the world’s population. The business is clearly profitable for Zuckerberg, whose team is now fidgeting to find a spot for ads within the app.
Yes, it is acceptable that getting a dark mode integrated seamlessly within the app’s interface is tough but if Facebook can do it for Messenger, it needs to rub its eyes and look at WhatsApp.
The only design change – apart from the push for Stories – we have seen on WhatsApp over the ears is the app’s own emoji (which in my opinion look crappy), while beta showed hints of rounded text bubbles. That’s all.
Coming back to Stories, Facebook has been bullish about promoting a similar experience across all its apps. So when it decided to copy Snapchat Stories, it brought the feature to Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and even tried to shove it into Facebook. At F8 2018, Facebook announced that it would bring integration for third-party apps, and naturally, WhatsApp Stories was not left out – so leaving dark mode out of WhatsApp is strange to say the least.
WhatsApp was among the earliest apps to integrate chat wallpapers, but it doesn’t allow much more in the name of customization and themes, which is a pity. One could argue that anyone desiring more customizations – at least a dark mode – could use unofficial WhatsApp apps but in the wake of the current data controversy that Facebook is embroiled in, it would be better to use the official version which offers encryption. And there are fake versions of the app too – these could bring more than just bugs and could actually compromise your device.