Android Q's Dark Mode Breaks Google Photos, Makes It Almost Unusable

Google Photos AH NS 04

Android Q Beta 1 dropped yesterday, and many are still digging around to see what’s new in this latest version of Android. However, one thing that is new, is dark mode working in more Google apps. This includes Google Photos, where it is all but broken right now.

The entire app is in dark mode, but the text within the app is also dark, making it mostly unreadable. It also looks pretty terrible on the Google Pixel 3 XL, due to the notch and the status bar being all white. You can still see the text, slightly, but hopefully Google will update the app to show the text in white, or at least a lighter color. The dark mode on Google Photos does look really nice, and matches the rest of Android Q in dark mode, which is good to see.

As always, it’s important to keep in mind that this is the very first beta of Android Q (the first of six), so there are going to be things that are broken or not working correctly. These all should be fixed in the upcoming betas and definitely before the final release comes out – sometime in Q3 2019.


Some are reporting that installing the newest APK (via a sideload), fixes the issue in Google Photos. We did try this, here at AndroidHeadlines, but that didn’t seem to fix the issue. Others are claiming that a simple restart also fixed the issue, and again that did not fix the issue for us. For now, the best bet is going to be to either turn off dark mode via the ADB command – if you had it before upgrading – or just get used to barely being able to see the text in Google Photos. It’s a bit unfortunate, but this is the price we pay for using early beta versions of software that are not ready – hence the “beta” term.

With Android Q, Google is putting a huge emphasis on privacy. It is adding a number of controls so that users are able to control what apps are able to use in the background. For example, location. Some apps only need location while the app is open – like Twitter or Facebook. While other apps may need it open in the background, like Google Maps. Instead of just giving every app unfettered location access, users are able to now give apps access only while it’s open, or always have access. It’s a small thing, but it will make a difference, both in privacy and in battery usage.

Some other features in Android Q include some new under-the-hood features for the camera. Which is going to allow cameras to get even better Bokeh effects, without needing more hardware – something we may see on the new Pixel 4 later this year. It also improves the share menu. Moving from a polling type system, to having all the sharing options available already. This is going to make sharing to another app almost instant, instead of having to wait for it to happen.


Android Q isn’t expected to be available until Q3, so there’s still plenty of time for Google to fix these issues.