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Careful Tech 099: Just $349 to make my iPad… worse?

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Apple

Careful Tech 097: iPhone mouse support

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Careful Tech 096: Is Apple buying product placement in virtual Broadway performances?

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Careful Tech 094: Second-hand impressions of the new Magic Keyboard

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Careful Tech 092: What’s the best-sized iPad Pro?

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Careful Tech 091: Give Screen Time some teeth

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Careful Tech 089: The next step in iPad productivity

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Careful Tech 088: Praise for the Watchsmith app

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Careful Tech 087: What would make me buy a cellular Apple Watch?

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Dark mode: better on the iPhone than the Mac?

In the most recent release of iOS, Apple added dark mode, and I’m a fan. At nighttime, dark backgrounds seem less glaring; they’re also less likely to disturb my partner sleeping beside me on the bed.

But I’ve actually taken to “running dark” all the time—day and night—on my iPhone. I spend most of my time indoors, where dark mode is perfectly legible and less distracting than its older, brighter cousin.

I’m not quite as enamored with dark themes on the desktop, though. I think it’s the overlapping windows that give me trouble. In dark mode, I can’t tell apps apart at a glance; they seem less differentiated.

Why is this? For one thing, it’s difficult to paint a shadow (like the one macOS uses to mark the active window) on a background that’s already dark. It doesn’t help that I spend most of my workday in Microsoft Office. Those apps support dark mode, but when it’s turned on, the interfaces are near-identical, dropping their distinctive “light mode” colors for a uniform gray.

Dark mode works on iOS because you don’t really need to tell apps apart by their interface appearance. On the iPhone, you only have one thing open at a time; you’re probably not going to forget what app you’re currently using. Even in the app switcher, the system helpfully pins each app’s icon to its thumbnail, so there’s no mistaking one for another. ◾