Earlier this year, Google made an announcement about a new feature in the YouTube app, and unfortunately for us, it still is NOT the one where the audio continues playing even when the display is off. It’s a welcome new feature, though not as useful as the one we hoped for – a new “dark theme” for the app, so that the colors on the menus and the whole app are muted when you’re watching in the dark. Also, you might want it because it just looks cooler than the normal white app background.

Unfortunately for Android users, this dark theme for the YouTube app rolled out to iOS immediately, but is still not in the stable app for Android. Some of you who like to tweak their phone’s software have already found a way to get the dark theme with root access and a modified APK installer. But for those who don’t like doing that, it was a hopeless case. Until today.

So there is a way to get the YouTube dark theme without the hassle. Well, it is certainly less hassle than having to root your phone and installing a modified APK. For this process, you will need to do it via the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). Let’s get on with the guide.

What you need:

  1. Make sure you’re up to date on the latest version of the app by downloading it from the official Google Play Store link.
  2. Make sure you’ve already installed ADB on your desktop/laptop PC. We have a good guide on how to install ADB.
  3. Data cable connection from your phone to the desktop/laptop PC.
  4. Download the needed file from Android File Host.
  5. Extract the file “YouTubeDarkTheme_XDA.ab” from the downloaded zip file and place it in the folder where ADB is located.

Now you’re ready to go through the process.

Installing the YouTube Dark Theme file

  1. Connect your phone to the computer.
  2. Open up a command prompt or terminal window in the directory where ADB is located and enter the following command depending on your OS:
    Windows Command Prompt: adb restore YouTubeDarkTheme_XDA.ab
    Windows Power Shell: .\adb restore YouTubeDarkTheme_XDA.ab
    macOS Terminal: ./adb restore YouTubeDarkTheme_XDA.ab
    Linux Terminal: ./adb restore YouTubeDarkTheme_XDA.ab

    You should see a message telling you to unlock your phone and confirm the restore operation.

  3. On your phone, you should see a full screen prompt requesting you approve a “full restore of all data.” Accept it without entering a password (the file doesn’t need one). Pressing “Restore My Data” will not wipe or replace any of your phone’s data (except YouTube’s settings, which is what is needed), so don’t worry.
  4. After a few seconds, the fullscreen prompt should disappear. If you are already in the YouTube app, it should reload with the dark theme present. If you weren’t already in the app, just open it up and it should load with the theme. There’s a small chance YouTube might force close, but this can safely be ignored by just re-opening the app.

Congratulations, you should now have YouTube for Android’s dark theme enabled! You won’t see the toggle in settings, so if you want to turn off the dark mode you’ll have to clear YouTube’s app data.



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