Dark Mode in GitHub.com is Here!

GitHub’s dark mode is the greatest news in 2020!

Horaaaaaaayyyy! Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

being a lousy year is something everyone on the planet can agree on. But do not despair! Things are finally starting to look up! Forget Covid-19. Forget the incredible news that the UK has started administrating actual vaccines just this Tuesday. Let’s also blatantly gloss over the incredible 6 billion kilometers round trip that Hayabusa 2 (はやぶさ 2) just made to Ryugu and back to get some dirt samples.

The greatest news in 2020 so far then, is that GitHub.com finally has dark mode. Cue in please the angelic hymns, heavenly fanfare and a Queen soundtrack here. The glaring white on black of the world’s most popular repository is now an eye pleasing cool tones of blues and black.

All right… All right… With all the lockdowns, work from homes, social distancing and more lockdowns, the white glare from your screen may be the closest thing to the sun most of you will ever get this year. But admit it, you want it too.

echo “hello, darkness” #GitHubUniverse #Keynote https://githubuniverse.com
- @github

Tweet by GitHub announcing the darkness
Figure 1: Github’s dark mode announced in a tweet

One would think that in 2020, with CSS, responsive designs, all the new frameworks and technology we throw at the browser weekly, customizing the colors on a page on-demand seems like an early 2000s capability. Alas, a beautifully designed dark scheme is a rare thing (hats off to docs.docker.com who gets it spot on from the very beginning). Some solutions do exist, color themes and readers that modify the color scheme, but they don’t work well I’ve found. They seemed like a hack. What we needed was a well-designed, properly thought-out dark color scheme. And finally available on GitHub, yeah!

Figure 2: Look at that! Soo pretty!

So how does one join the dark side? That is simplicity in itself, but the feature is not obvious at first. First you need to log in to GitHub, signup for a free account if you haven’t (have I mentioned it is free?). On the main dashboard in www.github.com/your-username, just above “Customize your pins” there is a little art with a moon slider. Just slide the moon to wake up Octocat, who is now plainly obvious, like most developer; a night cat.

Octocat sleeping
Figure 3: Octocat hiding on the white scheme.
Octocat woken up
Figure 4: Octocat awake in colorful tones.
Figure 5: Landing page announcement

However, if you so love your mouse and would really rather hear the sounds of your mouse clicking, you can also enable the dark theme by clicking on your avatar, then click settings. A new appearance control will be revealed to you. Cue in heavenly angelic hymns singing.

Figure 6: Theme control in the settings page.

It’s that easy! Why did GitHub.com wait all this time to enable a dark mode? We may never know, but I suspect the $7.5 billion from Microsoft may have helped get the new color schemes. If you happen to visit dev.azure.com, or Microsoft Teams, the colorings are quite similar. I would strongly argue, had GitHub already implemented its dark theme before the sale, it could have gone for $12 billion easy.

So 2021 is just a few weeks away, and by all account it’s looking better than 2020. Knock on wood. Many would point out though, passing a small family of gall stones would be better than 2020. We can be hopeful with the Covid-19 vaccines already starting this December, by all indication it shouldn’t be too long a wait for everyone once distribution and production get up to speed. In the meantime we can enjoy interacting with GitHub.com in eye-pleasing colors.

And in the greatest irony, you are now reading this while basking in the white glare of Medium’s white background and black text theme from the 1960s. This is 2020, we’ll take the small wins whenever we can. Dare we hope for a Twitter edit in 2021 maybe?


  1. Knaus, C., 2020. Japan’S Hayabusa2 Capsule Carrying Asteroid Samples Recovered In South Australian Outback. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/05/japans-hayabusa2-sends-capsule-carrying-asteroid-samples-towards-earth> [Accessed 8 December 2020].
  2. Murray, J., 2020. Covid Vaccine: UK Woman Becomes First In World To Receive Pfizer Jab. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/08/coventry-woman-90-first-patient-to-receive-covid-vaccine-in-nhs-campaign> [Accessed 8 December 2020].
  3. The Verge. 2020. Twitter’S Jack Dorsey On Edit Button: ‘We’Ll Probably Never Do It’. [online] Available at: <https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/15/21066815/twitter-edit-button-jack-dorsey-says-no> [Accessed 8 December 2020].



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