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How to Turn Off Dark Mode in Maps on an iPhone

I’m not going to lie, I love Dark Mode. I did a lot of coding 20+ years ago, and even back then, I would have my code/text editors (like Sublime Text and BBEdit) set to an inverse color scheme. It is much easier on the eyes when staring at a screen for long periods. And I probably spend too much time staring at my iPhone these days.

So, I was happy when iOS finally implemented a system-wide Dark Mode. And I love it for every app – except Maps. I know it’s probably psychological, but when it’s daytime, and my map makes it look like nighttime, it scrambles my brain. Not to mention that light blue-gray lines on a darker gray background are too tricky for my weary eyes to make out. And there is very little contrast to make terrain discernable.

iOS Maps Showing Dark Mode Vs. Light Mode
iOS Maps Showing Dark Mode Vs. Light Mode

So, how can you turn off Dark Mode in Maps?

Well, you can’t. I have no idea why Apple hasn’t included a way to toggle Dark and Light Modes on an app by app basis, but they haven’t. Perhaps it is the way system resources are allocated because I can’t imagine that somebody in Cupertino didn’t think about it. Other apps such as Twitter have a setting you can change, but Apple’s system-level apps don’t.

But there is a poor man’s workaround. Just turn off Dark Mode when you want to use Maps.

“Really? That’s your solution?”

I know it’s a pain, and indeed not pretty, but you can add a button to your Control Center to avoid having to open your iPhone Settings, scroll down and go into Display & Brightness, select Light under Appearance, navigate back out, etc. With a quick swipe and a tap, you can toggle off Dark Mode in your Control Center, use Maps, and toggle it back on again.

Control Center with Dark Mode button
Control Center with Dark Mode button

How to Add a Dark Mode Button to Control Center

  1. Open iPhone Settings
  2. Go into “Control Center”
  3. Select “Customize Controls”
  4. Scroll down, and under “More Controls” you will see “Dark Mode”
  5. Click the plus (+) sign

The Dark Mode button will be added to the “Include” list where you can rearrange your icons however your heart desires.

Again, this is not the greatest solution, but at least it works. Hopefully, Apple will add the ability to select what apps we want in Dark Mode or Light Mode in a future update. But for now, I think this is the best we’ve got.

Note: Here’s a kicker – plug your Dark Mode into CarPlay during the day, and guess what? Your map displays a light “daytime” view just fine. Go figure.

OWC Mark C
the authorOWC Mark C
Content Marketing Manager
A creative by nature, Mark is a writer, programmer, web developer, musician, culinary craftsman, and interpersonal artisan. He loves the outdoors because greenspace is to the soul as whitespace is to the written word. He does not like Diophantine geometry or mosquitos. Most everything else is okay. Oh yeah, he is also the managing editor of the Rocket Yard blog.
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  • With iOS14 you can now use ‘Automations’ to:
    1. Set ‘appearance to light’ when Maps opens.
    2. Set ‘appearance to dark’ when Maps closes.
    And each setting will run automatically when Maps opens and closes. Not something we should have to do, as Apple should include this feature in the Maps app.

  • This is another Apple idea which promotes “COOL” over practical.
    I’m an 80 year old man and can tell you the dark mode map at night is a really stupid idea! Cool, it is NOT! I don’t use dark mode and still have a very dark map which is difficult to see and to follow.
    We need a map that can be seen from the driver’s seat to the dashboard where the iPhone is. No if’s, and’s, or but’s!!!

    • Right on from my 75 yo viewpoint. The absolute worst is authors who insist on using dark mode screenshots in web and print publications. Also your eye’s depth of field is reduced in dark mode making it more difficult to focus on the phone when held at various distances.

      • Know what’s really COOL? Septuagenarians and octogenarians tech savvy enough to make poignant and relevant observations of the latest tools that are spot on.

        I just searched for this topic because I was unable to see Apple Maps in daylight in my car because I use Dark Mode on my iPhone. There should be a way for an individual app, especially a native one, to override it. Glad it isn’t just me.

        A 50-something whippersnapper still respecting his elders.

  • No idea why it isn’t working for you, but when I use Apple Maps in the daytime, it’s in nice bright ‘day’ mode. At night or in low light conditions, like going through a tunnel, it slowly shifts to night-mode. But reverts back again in the day.

    I have dark-mode on always.

    • You probably have “Automatic” selected under “Appearances.” Unfortunately, that takes everything out of Dark Mode during the day. For me, I still want Dark Mode for my apps, just not Maps.