Chrome Web Gets New Themes, But Still No True Dark Mode

Chrome Themes Just Black AH 2019

Google has released a grand total of fourteen new and officially sanctioned color themes for its Chrome browser, first spotted by TechDows. Designed to suit the individual personality of users and their hardware, the themes cover an array of configurations, including high-contrast and more subdued aesthetics.

As has almost always been the case with Chrome themes, those apply to any desktop configuration of the browser and to the top bar section but not to the menus or Omnibox. That means they won't be subbing in for a true 'dark mode' any time soon but at least two of the new themes should scratch the itch for users who are only looking for something more nighttime-ready. Those are the Just Black, blue-tinted Slate, and somewhat greener Oceanic themes.

For those looking toward a more lighthearted color scheme, Classic Blue, Sea Foam, and Banana should fit perfectly. Black & White, Honeysuckle, Ultra Violet, High Contrast Colorful, and Pretty In Pink take brightness and personality up to a completely different level. Conversely, a more laid back look can be had with the Rose, Marsala, and Serenity colors.


Getting themes installed

Google hasn't brought its theming capability over to mobile just yet but getting the new themes on Chrome OS, Windows, macOS, or Linux is straightforward enough. In fact, once a theme is installed on any of those it will automatically sync up — provided the user is logged in and has syncing turned on — with any other signed-in devices running those operating systems.

The first step is to choose a new theme from the Chrome Web Store. Once selected, an 'add to Chrome' button can be found on the theme's page. Clicking that will install and apply the theme in a single step and no restarting or rebooting should be required.

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To revert the theme back to the more standard but much-maligned white on white configuration, users simply need to navigate to the settings found under the three-dot menu at the top-right-hand side of Chrome. From there, scrolling down to appearance should reveal a setting for 'Browser themes'. Users can choose to navigate out to the Chrome Web Store using the included square-and-arrow icon or click the 'Reset to default' button to get the default theme back.

Still no 'real' dark mode for Chrome

As mentioned, there's quite a few elements that theming Chrome still doesn't accomplish so this isn't a true replacement for those who have eye conditions or use cases that make using Chrome's default theme a hassle. It could provide temporary reprieve but the URL Omnibox, context menus, and similarly 'hidden' elements such as the settings menu will retain the default white theme.


Google is presently working to implement a real dark mode and a buggy iteration of that has been spotted recently in a nightly build for the less-than-stable Canary Channel of the OS and browser. Google Chrome 73 is just weeks away, scheduled to arrive March 12, so it isn't likely that will be released to the Stable Channel in the next version of the browser. It is far more likely that Chrome might finally have an official dark mode as early as version 74.

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