What you need to know
- GroupMe on Windows 10 now has a dark mode.
- It only took three years.
- GroupMe is still popular with college kids in the US.
Microsoft's chat app GroupMe has been a favorite focus of the staff at Windows Central for years. It's a fun, light chat app that is available on literally everything, including just straight up SMS.
Three years ago, Microsoft started adding a dark mode to GroupMe on Android and iOS, but some reason, it never came to Windows 10 even though the app is continually updated. It's been a popular rant topic on our weekly podcast.
Finally, our prayers have been answered with version 220.127.116.11, which seems to be going out to all users tonight.
Upon updating the app, the user should be switched to the new dark mode feature, assuming their OS is set too dark. Of course, you can manually override the function and choose light or dark, depending on your preference.
Microsoft has been paying a bit more attention to GroupMe in these last few months. The app recently picked up some minor integration with Skype, which was long overdue too. That new feature lets users start a quick Skype call with the group without users being required to have a Skype account (aka "Meet Now"). Microsoft also introduced some Fluent UI elements, including acrylic, over the last few years.
GroupMe may seem like an out of date service, but many college students, especially in the US, rely on it for classroom collaboration (go on Twitter and search for #GroupMe). On iOS, it enjoys a 4.7 rating (out of 5) from 1.3M reviews.
GroupMe is a classic example of Microsoft owning an excellent service, but not knowing what to do with it. Skype originally bought GroupMe, and then Microsoft bought Skype, where it has mostly been on life support. The app could have been a Telegram competitor back in the day, but it now seems too late. Either way, we're just glad to have dark mode as an option. Maybe someday we'll gain the ability to delete messages?
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
I have little experience in programming. Can anyone explain if adding Dark mode is more complex than just adding a CSS ?
My two cents as someone who's only played around with UWP dev for fun: System theme (light/dark) support is part of the Windows Community Toolkit (for UWP and I guess now some win32 stuff?), so if they used that from the beginning it should be as easy as literally adding a feature. If they didn't from the beginning (don't know how windows 8 worked and if this app started life as a windows 8 app), and they maybe used some other custom stuff, then this would be more difficult I think. My experience was that sometimes colors might need to be changed for accessibility reasons (some things are much more legible on a white background than black and vice-versa), and Microsoft seems to take that seriously, so could have taken time to fix that too.
In all likelihood though, the simple answer is probably that it wasn't a priority because the windows 10 app is not on their radar at all. Though feels like GroupMe overall no one cares about. But I could be completely wrong, just the feeling I get whenever I use it.
Now to get some of the rest of the world to use this app. Yes I hear that it's popular on campuses, but what of other places? Everyone I mention this to says "never heard of it".
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