MacOS now supports both "Light" and "Dark" mode (found in "System Preferences", "General", "Appearance").

How can I make VS Code automatically change it's theme to be light or dark, when I change my MacOS "Appearance"?

  • This is a vscode question, not an Apple question.
    – ThaJay
    Mar 31, 2021 at 16:34
  • @ThaJay This question is using software on Apple hardware, so it's perfectly on-topic.
    – nohillside
    Apr 1, 2021 at 15:12
  • 1
    This is the same across all OS that have light and dark mode so it's purely about vscode. I used this answer on my Windows install.
    – ThaJay
    Apr 6, 2021 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


This was released in 1.42:

Auto switch Theme based on OS color scheme

Windows and macOS now support light and dark color schemes. There is a new setting, window.autoDetectColorScheme, that instructs VS Code to listen to changes to the OS's color scheme and switch to a matching theme accordingly.

To customize the themes that are used when a color scheme changes, you can set the preferred light and dark theme with the settings:

  • workbench.preferredLightColorTheme
  • workbench.preferredDarkColorTheme
  • And is it possible to manually override this setting? Like having a switch/command that switches to the preferred dark theme, even though my system setting is light. Mar 18, 2020 at 11:25
  • @LinusGeffarth I just manually make the switch (instructions below - quite easy!). Haven’t looked for a way to switch based on the workbench setting. code.visualstudio.com/docs/getstarted/themes
    – JBallin
    Mar 18, 2020 at 18:44

Go to settings and search for theme -> Auto Detect Color Scheme

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