Here's how you can enable native WhatsApp dark mode on latest stable build with root

Bringing a consistent form of dark mode is not an easy task, as the existing implementations are very much fragmented. Even the apps from Google don’t have a standard way to toggle the color scheme – some rely on underlying system settings while others sport a distinct option for switching.

google_keep_dark_theme_tooggle
‘Enable Dark Theme’ as it can be seen in Google Keep

Besides the Google apps, a majority of users are craving for a proper dark mode enactment in WhatsApp. The Facebook owned messaging application is used by millions, but the parent company is taking a slow path in this particular domain of development.

Since last few months, there are several glimpses of the upcoming blackish theme on WhatsApp. Third party Android skins, such as ColorOS can manually override the color scheme of the app. However, the end result is often inconsistent.

realme_coloros_whatsapp_forced_dark_mode
Forced dark mode in WhatsApp by ColorOS (Source)

We do know the actual first-party update is just days away, but now you can achieve the inherent dark theme of WhatsApp! The thing is, the necessary assets are already part of the latest stable channel build (2.19.352). All you need ‘a magic spell’ from the server side.

Well, if you have root access, you can turn it on yourself. All you have to do is navigate to the following directory:

/data/data/com.whatsapp/shared_prefs

Open the file named ‘com.whatsapp_preferences.xml’ and add the following line in it:

<boolean name="dark_mode" value="true" />

Save the file, force close WhatsApp and re-open it. You should have a new theme option like this:

whatsapp_stable_dark_mode_choose_theme
Source

Android uses this SharedPreferences thing to store different parameters in the form of key-value pairs. The community discovered this particular key in the beta version of WhatsApp a few months ago. Now that the stable build supports it, official release should be imminent.

Once again, this is not AMOLED friendly true black, but more of a darker tone of green/gray. There are other shortcomings as well, as automatic switching with night light reportedly doesn’t work.

Worked for me.
OnePlus 3T, Pie (LOS 16)
2.19.352

EDIT: Doesn’t switch automatically with night light. What a shame

(Source)

whatsapp_stable_dark_mode_conversation
Preview of the dark theme (Source)

Do you like the dark mode offering by WhatsApp? Facing any problem to activate it on your phone? Let us know by commenting below.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.