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One of Google’s most popular apps might finally be getting dark mode

Published Oct 9th, 2019 10:58AM EDT
Google Maps dark mode
Image: Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

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Dark mode has been slowly spreading across the entire mobile app ecosystem over the last few years, but Apple’s decision to add a dedicated system-wide dark mode to iOS 13 might have escalated the adoption of the feature even further. For example, just this week, Instagram updated its app with a dark mode, and now there are signs that one of Google’s most important mobile apps will be going dark in the near future as well.

According to Android Police, elements of dark mode have begun to appear in the latest versions of Maps Preview and Maps Beta, signaling that Google is at the very least testing the feature out. That said, it’s likely still a ways away from being ready for release, as a vast majority of the app still appears as it always has, and of the interface elements that have been changed, many are illegible with dark text on a dark background.

Many of Google’s most prominent apps on Android have gotten dark mode in recent months, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Chrome, Google Assistant, and even the Play Store. Google Maps has had a night theme for a while, but it can only be activated while navigating. A more extensive dark mode is in the works:

Image source: Android Police

Of course, one of the highlights of Android 10 is a system-wide dark mode of Google’s own design. As with iOS, every app that has a dark mode should automatically switch over when you have Android 10 dark mode enabled, and it sure looks like Google Maps could be one of those apps after a future update rolls out.

This comes just days after Google added another highly-anticipated feature to Maps: Incognito mode. The feature had long been a part of Chrome and YouTube, but it arrived on Google Maps this week as well:

When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your Maps activity on that device, like the places you search for, won’t be saved to your Google Account and won’t be used to personalize your Maps experience. You can easily turn on Incognito mode by selecting it from the menu that appears when you tap your profile photo, and you can turn it off at any time to return to a personalized experience with restaurant recommendations, information about your commute, and other features tailored to you. Incognito mode will start rolling out on Android this month, with iOS coming soon.

If and when Google makes any official announcements about dark mode for Maps, we’ll be sure to share them.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.