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Windows 10 Mail app finally gets real dark mode with the latest Release Preview update

Outlook vs Windows Mail
Outlook vs Windows Mail (Image credit: Windows Central)

Windows 10 dark mode can best be described as a journey, not a race, and that's evident with its default Mail app. For years, the app was able to go dark except for the actual page where you read the email, which remained white. That's now changing as spotted by WindowsUnited.

Starting with version 16005.11231.20142.0 for those in the Windows Insider Release Preview Ring the Mail app can now go completely dark (a restart or toggling the dark mode option may be required).

The new dark mode, along with a bevy of other UI changes, were first spotted on January 24, but only for those in the Windows Insider Fast Ring ("19H1"). Now, those on the October Update (1809) can get the new version as well.

For those who don't like the dark reading pane a toggle lets you easily turn it off.

For those who don't like the dark reading pane a toggle lets you easily turn it off.

While not a massive overhaul it's these little things that go a long way to making the native Mail app on Windows 10 rather fun to use.

There's no word on when this update will go to those on non-Windows Insider builds (aka Production), but with this final stage of testing, it is likely just a few weeks.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

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.

  • Am I the only one that thinks the mail area should stay white? I mean it's a content area and the sender has meant something picking colors for the text, images etc. WTF. What's next? Making the Word document dark by default, just because Dark Themes everywhere? I think there should be limits and reasons for some things. Retarded
  • What's retarded is your comment. You may not be the only one but why do you care if they provide the option?
  • I like it dark.
  • I don't. Too difficult to read.
  • Then turn it off.
  • Check out the latest build video from "On MSFT" on YouTube.
    There will be a switch at the top of the reading pane where you can change the theme of reading pane from dark to light or vice versa on the fly.
  • "Am I the only one that thinks the mail area should stay white?"
    There's a toggle for it. Just turn it off and you can have the app dark but the reading pane white. Problem solved.
  • What you don't understand is that a lot of us work with PC's at night and that white bright light burns the eyes. So, it's welcomed even in office. If it bothers you that much, like others have said, just toggle it off. Just like you don't want others tastes to go off on you, don't do the same.
  • Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
  • Feel the hate, oraora!
  • Read the article before commenting...
  • That's a very welcome addition.
  • I recently checked dark mode on Hotmail and it's awesome. This is the same level of cool 😎!!
  • I think this is awesome. This and OneNote are two of the biggest laggards when it comes to dark mode. Good job, MS.
  • Wish they'd add to Outlook, or did they?
  • It's already there :)
  • I must have missed that setting for the reading pane as well.
  • As long as they never take away my ability to keep everything light and readable, this is fine. Meanwhile, Hulu just ruined THEIR app. No longer a live tile, the tile can't be resized to Wide, and the actual design and functionality of the app itself is beyond disgusting. I despise PWAs. Utterly despise them.
  • Overall, still a crappy mail app in 2019. Completely Mickey Mouse bugs that have been around for months now:
    - Cannot add a new Gmail or Yahoo account because of an error.
    - After changing list to show unread messages, must click the select all checkbox a couple of times for it to actually work Other bugs come and go as Mail & Calendar get updated because of poor testing, like the taskbar counter not clearing after reading all messages (within the last couple of weeks), but that's apparently been fixed. Just frustrating to use a Mail app that so many bugs get into somehow...
  • Hmm that sucks you are experiencing those bugs, luckily I haven't had those issues you are describing and I use it all the time. Have you tried resetting the app?
  • These bugs you mentioned don't even happen on any of my PCs.
  • I have not experienced these bugs specifically but some here and there. It's not perfectly polished. But to be honest it's better than pretty good for me - it's great. I don't need full Outook. Full-on dark mode nearly completes the experience for me. I do wish they had pull to refresh though. It's so natural on other mail apps, including their Android Outlook app.
  • Just a note to Daniel. Listened to your podcast of Jan 25. Love you guys. One suggestion regarding Cortana. Just say "Cortana is Alive" rather than stressing she is NOT DEAD. It's like saying don't forget...all one hears is forget... in this case "dead." Just a thought. :)
  • And by the way I use Cortana on my Invoke speaker all the time … I appreciate being reminded of things I need to do of finish in a day.
  • Hmmm... I'm not seeing the toggle, despite having the correct version of the mail app and being in the release preview ring. Tried toggling dark mode in Mail and Windows and restarting a bunch of times but still not showing up. Anyone else??
  • Actually I like the current version...half dark, half light...
  • And yet no dark mode for Outlook on Android.
  • Now if they would just allow me to change the default font to a size that is readable by humans...