If you have ever used dark mode on your mobile phone, then you would be surprised to know that it is also available on your Linux desktop. Basically, the dark mode changes the color scheme of your programs and shell UI to dark colors and make it displays less light that is also easier on your eyes. Enabling dark mode on your system not only helps to reduce strain from your eyes but also potentially extends the battery life.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to enable dark mode throughout the entire Linux Ubuntu system.

Prerequisites

  • Ubuntu 20.04 system
  • User with sudo privileges

Note:

  • The procedure discussed in this article has been tested on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
  • To launch the command-line Terminal, press Ctrl+Alt+T.

Enable Dark mode in Ubuntu

Follow the below steps in order to enable dark mode in Ubuntu:

Step 1: Launch Settings

First, you will need to launch the Settings application in your system. You can do so by going to the top right corner of your desktop and clicking the system menu. Then from the menu that appears, click Settings.

Desktop Settings

An alternative way to open the Settings utility is to right-click the Desktop and from the context menu that appears, select Settings.

Step 2: Enable Dark mode

From the left sidebar in the Settings application, select the Appearance tab. Here you will find three different themes under the Windows colors section. Ubuntu has a standard theme enabled by default.

Enable Dark mode

Now to enable Dark mode on the system, select “Dark” as shown in the following screenshot. Changes will be applied instantly and you will see almost all of the default applications including the Settings window and the Nautilus File Manager are now in Dark mode.

The following screenshot shows how the dark mode will look like:

dark Mode in Ubuntu

However, you will notice that dark theme has not applied to the shell such as in the Right-click context menu and in the notification area, system menu, and application menu (in the top panel).

In the following screenshot, you can see that the File Manager and the Settings applications are in dark mode while the context menu is in light mode.

Ubuntu Desktop using dark mode

Enable full dark mode

In the following section, we will see how to enable the dark mode in the remaining areas that is in the shell UI. This way, we can achieve the full dark mode in our system.

Follow the below steps in order to enable full dark mode on Ubuntu:

Step 1: Install Gnome shell extensions

You will need the Gnome shell extensions that will allow you to enable the dark theme for the shell. Use the following command in Terminal to install Gnome shell extensions:

$ sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

Step2: Install Gnome Tweaks utility

Then install Gnome Tweaks utility using the following command:

$ sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

Step 3: Enable User Themes extension

Now, open the Gnome Extensions application on your system. To do so, press the super key and type extensions in the search bar. When the icon for Extensions application appears as you can see in the following screenshot, click it to open.

Enable user Themes

In the Extensions application, slide the toggle button next to User Themes to on position (Colored).

Switch on User Themes

Now log out from the system and login back or simply press Alt+F2 and then r to restart the Gnome shell.

Step 4: Change Shell theme

Now, open Gnome Tweaks utility, and from the left sidebar, select the Appearance tab. Then select Yaru-dark from the drop-down options next to the Shell.

Change Shell theme

Changes will be applied instantly and you will see the dark theme applied to all the remaining areas including the right-click context menu, notification area, system menu, and application menu.

In the following screenshot, you can see that the entire desktop has now in dark mode.

The entire desktop has now in dark mode

Disable Dark mode

If you get bored with the dark theme, you can disable it from the Gnome Tweaks utility.

1. Open Gnome Tweaks utility and from the left sidebar, select the Appearance tab.

2. Then select the Default theme from the drop-down options next to the Applications and Shell.

Disable dark mode

Now the dark mode will be disabled and default light mode will be applied to your system.

That is all you need to do in order to enable or disable the dark theme in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Based on your preferences and convenience, you can either enable partial or full dark mode on your system. In case, you get bored with the dark theme, you can also disable it as described in the article.

How to enable Dark Mode in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
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Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. He blogs at LinuxWays.