The new macOS Mojave Dark Mode function makes all of Apple's built-in apps get the Dark Mode treatment, that is Safari, Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Maps, Photos, Messages, FaceTime, iTunes, Apple Books, etc.

However, is it possible to selectively activate Dark Mode, i.e., only for a specific subset of apps? For instance, what if I want to keep Safari in Light Mode and turn Finder to Dark Mode instead? Am I somehow allowed to do that?

  • I really hope this becomes possible. I'd like to be able to set Terminal to Dark Mode as is done in ElementaryOS – J. L. Sep 29 '18 at 21:40
  • Is just using a dark profile in Terminal really all that different? (Yes, I know the title bar and tabs are still light, but they're not exactly prominent, especially if none of your other apps are dark.) – calum_b Oct 7 '18 at 19:15

There's a command that works for this:

defaults write <Bundle-Identifier> NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool yes

It's explained here: https://www.tekrevue.com/tip/exclude-app-dark-mode-macos-mojave/

If you don't know the app's bundle id, you can query it using AppleScript, which you can run from the command line with osascript:

osascript -e 'id of app "<App-Name>"'
  • 2
    defaults write com.apple.iTunes NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool yes didn't work for me :( macOS 10.14.4 – n1000 Apr 22 '19 at 19:50
  • Irony is I need to disable it for Apple script editor defaults write com.apple.ScriptEditor2 NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool yes – palaniraja May 2 '19 at 21:32
  • How do you enable the dark mode back on? This works perfectly, but I cannot switch to the entire dark mode now as some of the preferences were probably rewritten. – Josh E. Nov 26 '20 at 9:11

More free options include Gray app and NightOwl. Both can be installed using Homebrew:

brew install gray
brew install nightowl
  • to me definitely the perfect solution – Pierre Feb 19 '20 at 13:14
  • What is the list item in Gray app for the mode of the menu bar? I managed to set everything except that. – Siniša Šašić Sep 20 '20 at 11:04

I've been using LightsOff for a couple of days now, seems to work very well.

It does "switch" between modes when you open an app that you have excluded and you can actually see the switching which is a bit of a downside.

  • 1
    I'd rather prefer a build-in option for that. Anyways, this app seems to do the job. There are some bugs to be fixed though (e.g., when opening an app in Light Mode, it flashes to Dark Mode first for a fraction of second). – mgiordi Oct 8 '18 at 9:08
  • 1
    Would be nice if Apple included it but this is the closest thing I guess. – Dylan Oct 8 '18 at 12:59
  • 2
    Note that it switches the entire MacOS system to Dark Mode when the application is active, not just the specific app. – P A N Sep 21 '19 at 13:16
  • Doesn’t work anymore, Mac OS 10.15.6 (19G2021) – Siniša Šašić Sep 20 '20 at 11:00

Shouldn't there be a new alternative for this command based on early betas (see below):

defaults write com.apple.dt.Xcode NSWindowDarkChocolate -bool true


I think the method used to enable app specific light/dark mode has been disabled in 10.14.2

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .