WhatsApp dark mode: this hack might let you try it early

WhatsApp dark mode is nearly here, and some Android users have been able to get an early peek at the new design using a simple trick discovered by accident.

For it to work, you'll need to be part of the WhatsApp beta program and using a phone with Android 10 installed. Make sure your phone's dark theme is enabled (visit Settings > Display and toggle it on), then open WhatsApp and send a YouTube link to one of your contacts.

Open the keyboard and tap the video thumbnail to open the YouTube picture-in-picture player. If you're lucky, you'll now see WhatsApp in dark mode.

The bug isn't consistent, and our tests with an emulated Google Pixel 3 proved unsuccessful, but several Twitter users have reported success and shared evidence of dark mode in action.

Dark times ahead

While this is only a bug, it's evidence that WhatsApp Dark Mode is nearly ready for public testing, and may become available as an option in the beta release very soon.

We've previously seen evidence that WhatsApp will in fact have two dark modes (a slightly lighter one, and one that's mostly black and will be particularly useful for power-saving on AMOLED screens). The dark mode seen using the YouTube player trick appears to be the lighter of these two options, and it's possible that only this one will be made available for testing to begin with.

We'll keep you updated as soon as we know more.