We’re sure Google and YouTube have a lot of secret features that we can blissfully ignore, but there is one feature they have been keeping hush-hush, and one some people could not potentially live without: Dark Mode.
So what exactly is YouTube Dark? Simple. It replaces YouTube’s white background with black. Now, reading that may make you think that it’s not much of an innovation, but depending on how sensitive your eyes are, this feature could be a godsend. Just ask anyone whose eyes can’t stand prolonged exposure to bright white light — which is what your computer monitor basically is.
So how do you access this feature? Well, it’s not really officially implemented by YouTube yet, but as reported by TechTimes, it can be as simple as typing a string of code. However, there are a few prerequisites:
- You must use Google Chrome, updated to the latest version.
- You must be logged in to a YouTube account while performing the steps.
That’s about it. If those two requirements are not going to be a problem, then you’re free to follow these instructions.
First, while you are on the YouTube home page and logged on to an account, press Ctrl+Shift+I to bring up Developer Mode. This command is for Windows, and the equivalent for Mac is pressing Command+Option+I.
This will open a complicated-looking panel on the right side of your browser — don’t panic! Just look for the tab labelled “Console” and look for the input bar at the bottom part. If you found it, that is where you should paste this code:
…after which you should press Enter.
Now, refresh your browser. If you did all of the steps correctly, then you can click your user icon in the upper-right corner of the page. You will find that there are a lot more options on there, one of which is Dark Mode, as seen in the screenshot below.
What are the benefits?
Well, for one, Dark Mode can minimize strain on the eyes by using a dark background. This is especially helpful when watching YouTube at night, or in a dark room. One could also argue that Dark Mode makes YouTube look sleeker, more elegant, and just overall way cooler.
However, users should know that once you restart Chrome, the settings reset, and you have to go through the whole process above if you want to access Dark Mode again. That is why if you like the feature, then you should probably keep a copy of the code — or even the whole procedure itself — in a notepad file somewhere on your computer.
Although we have to admit, it’s the height of inconvenience going through it every time one restarts the browser. Here’s hoping Google and YouTube makes the feature official as it is obviously gaining popularity.
Google is known for incorporating and testing hidden features on their web pages. Some of these “Easter Eggs” are well-known, and even showcased. For example, for this year’s April Fools’ Day, they decided to turn Google Maps into a working game of Ms. Pacman.
Being that Google is this playful, it would not be surprising to find YouTube having more Easter Eggs for the enthusiastic hunter to find. We already have that one where pressing the arrow keys while a video is loading will turn the video frame into a game of snake, with the dotted circle acting as the eponymous reptile. Who knows, there could be more.
In the meantime, let’s hope YouTube deems Dark Mode an essential enough feature to incorporate it in the official site settings.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]