Force Any iOS App to Use Dark Mode, with Shortcuts

A few apps on iOS do not support dark mode–in my case it concerns five apps, some I often use: my bank app, Antidote FR/EN dictionaries, my mobile carrier and Apple’s own “Apple Store” app.

Apple’s Shortcuts–free in the App Store–comes with a neat feature called Automation that can force those apps to use dark mode, well kinda by automatically turning Smart Invert on each time you launch one of those apps.

What’s great is that you need not be a geek to use Shortcuts. You just need to tell it what to do, and when.

When, Do

If you haven’t already done so, install Shortcuts and launch it.

  1. Tap the Automation button at the bottom of the screen. In the new windows tap the + sign, in the top right corner of the screen–it amazes me how Apple, and many third-party app devs, are trying their best to make us tap absolutely everywhere on the screen save where our hands are most likely to be: near the bottom of the screen. But I digress.
  2. Select Create Personal Automation.
  3. Select Open app (it’s the last one in the list).
  4. In the When section, select every app you want to force into dark mode (you can always edit your selection later on), and tap Next–yeah, the tiny Next sitting in the top right corner of the small window, in the middle of the screen.
  5. Tap Add Action and use the search to pick Smart Invert.
  6. Last step, uncheck Ask before running if you don’t Shortcuts to ask for your permission to use Smart Invert every single time. It should look something like this:
  1. Click Done.

As of now, each time you launch one of the apps in your list, the iPad will turn Smart Invert on and make this app dark. Here, the usually blindingly white Apple Store app, using Smart Invert–which is not that ‘smart’ since it also inverts colors in images. But at least I can now read it:

What’s missing?

The obvious one is an “on close” action. I mean, wouldn’t it be great we could ask iOS to turn Smart Invert off as soon as we stop using one of the app that requires it?

But it’s easy to imagine many, many more possibilities. The only limit here is Apple’s willingness to let us automate our usage of the iPad. But seeing how each new version of Shortcuts is better than the previous one, there is hope 😉

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