My eyes thank you, Google: Android to get dark mode scheduling in future update

The feature was originally ditched over quality control issues

Someone using their phone at night

During the heady beta days of Android 10, Google showed off a feature that would allow users to automatically activate Dark Mode depending on the time of day. Sadly, despite an enthusiastic reception, it never made it into the finished product, due to several technical hurdles.

However, according to a company representative, Google plans to bring it back in a future update of the mobile operating system.

The confirmation was made on Google's issue tracker, and was spotted by XDA Developers.

Dark Mode scheduling allowed users to automatically turn on dark mode at specific times, such as before one heads to bed. This reduces eyestrain, and crucially, exposure to blue light, which can interfere with sleep.

Unfortunately, Google opted to kill Dark Mode scheduling before the stable version of Android 10 made it to end users. In a Reddit AMA, Chris Banes, a staffer in the Android developer relations team, explained this was due to quality control issues, citing the difficulties involved in calculating sunrises and sunsets.

"[Dark Mode scheduling] requires apps to request location permissions to be accurate, and even with a valid location the sunrise/sunset time calculations can be buggy," he said.

Although not mentioned in Banes' Reddit post, many users reported the feature causing apps to restart that were actively being used. It's likely this behaviour made Mountain View think twice before unleashing it on the general public.

On the Android issue tracker, a Google representative said this problem had been fixed, and the feature will appear in an unspecified version of Android. It's likely this will be Android 11, which Mountain View will unveil in mid-2020 and introduce to Pixel devices around September, before eventually rolling it out to third-party devices.

If you can't wait that long, and you're comfortable with the command line, you can add dark mode scheduling to your device with a bit of ADB trickery.

The Register has asked Google for comment. ®

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