Getting a dark (or inverted) browsing experience on Android

by Jeffrey Stark

December 17th, 2013

A quick google search finds that many people are looking for a dark browsing experience, the reasons vary as many different types of people look for a browsing experience with a black background.  For some it's to avoid waking their significant other asleep in the bed with a bright white screen that lights up the night, for some it’s to make the experience more comfortable at night for reading or .   in my case, I've explained that I need that color scheme to see things at all (as outlined in The quest for a high contrasting black mobile phone experience for low vision users).

I've spent hours and hours trying to find the best combination to get the high contrast black experience I want.  I'm going to share a quick 3 step process that gets the best experience I've found.

Step 1: Get The Team Black Out  Version Of Firefox

Without doing this step, there will be a number of screens in firefox that will still have a bright white background with black text.

Get the Team Black Out Updater.  This app contains a directory of all apps that have been  "blacked out", one of which is Firefox.  This means that someone has gone into the official release of the app and manually edited the colors of the app.   
Get the blackout updater app from the play store

Launch the Blackout Updater app and go to "Blacked Out".  Scroll down the list and near the bottom select Firefox, click download and when the install screen comes up, click to install.

Note: if you haven’t enabled install unsigned
 apps, a dialog will pop up and you need to do the following: click settings (or go into the settings screen for android), on the security screen  scroll down  to check “enable unknown apps” and than hit back and restart the installation process above.

Step 2: Add the Stylish Add-On To Firefox

Even with the blacked out version of Firefox, the content of web pages will not be shown in High Contrasting colors on a black background.  This is where the Add-On called Stylish comes in.  This Add-On is available for both Android and PC versions of Firefox.  This add-on allows you to override the look and feel of webpages with custom themes.

In Firefox, Open the firefox menu and select Tools, then select Add-Ons.  Click the Browse All Add-ons button and in the edit field on the page that comes up type "Stylish" & click the search button (directly after the edit field).  On your search results page, click the Stylish add-on link.  Alternately, go directly to the Stylish for Android add-on page
and click add to firefox.

Step 3: Add a Global Black Theme To Stylish

There are a variety of dark theme add-ons available for Stylish.  I encourage you to explore these after installing the style I recommend below.  I myself, use myfavolours – global custom color scheme.  Open the above link in firefox on your android phone and click install in stylish.

What is great about the above solution is it provides more of a uniform black browsing experience.  While I haven't experimented with it, you can download styles for specific sites or pages that don't quite come out right with the Global Black theme I referenced above.

If you have found any additional tips or trick to improve the experience, please share them in the comments below.

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