Announcing Darkscreen - A Dark App

I’m so excited to announce that my first iOS app, Darkscreen - A Dark App, has a public beta on Testflight! Ever since I was given my first iPod (all the way back in 7th grade!) I’ve dreamed of creating something that millions of people have the ability to enjoy, and I can’t express how excited I am. Here’s the official description:

Darkscreen allows you to use other iPad apps in Split View without any distractions, no hassle.

Darkscreen provides multiple themes, including:

  • Dark
  • Light
  • 80s
  • 90s
  • Outrun

Download using Testflight today!

Why Darkscreen?

I really love using Apollo for Reddit by Christian Selig, but he hasn’t gotten a chance to create a true iPad experience for his Reddit client yet. I use Darkscreen next to Apollo in Split View so that Apollo can be in an iPhone-sized container while keeping the rest of the screen black.

For example, posts shown in Apollo don’t quite look right when in full horizontal mode on iPad:

Apollo in full horizontal mode

Now with Darkscreen, I can browse Apollo in its intended view size without being distracted by other apps:

Apollo in Split View with Darkscreen

Switching to a new theme in Darkscreen automatically updates the table view as well as the root view underneath:

Darkscreen switching themes

My next goal, of course, is for Darkscreen to respond to the system-wide Dark Mode setting.

Why Open Source?

I found it an interesting challenge to modify the appearance of all of all views in the app immediately after a user selects a theme in a UITableView, and I hope this brief example can help other developers implement their own theme system.

Even though iOS 13 introduces system-wide Dark Mode, this example app can be helpful to support any custom themes that go beyond the default dark and light styles.

How to Update the Theme for a View

I’ve implemented the theme system using a Settings Bundle, so the BaseViewController can subscribe to settings (theme) changes:

func registerForSettingsChange() {
                                            selector: #selector(BaseViewController.settingsChanged),
                                            name: UserDefaults.didChangeNotification,
                                            object: nil)

A Theme corresponds to UI styles and colors:

class Theme {

    // ...

    init(_ name: String, statusBar: UIStatusBarStyle, background: UIColor, primary: UIColor, secondary: UIColor) { = name
        statusBarStyle = statusBar
        backgroundColor = background
        primaryColor = primary
        secondaryColor = secondary

When a setting changes, BaseViewController updates its UI elements:

@objc func settingsChanged() {

func updateTheme() {
    // Status bar

    // Background color
    self.view.backgroundColor = Settings.shared.theme.backgroundColor

    // Navigation bar

And UINavigationBar is extended to support theme switching:

public extension UINavigationBar {
    func updateTheme() {
        // Background color
        barTintColor = Settings.shared.theme.backgroundColor

        // Bar item color
        tintColor = Settings.shared.theme.secondaryColor

        // Title text color
        titleTextAttributes = [NSAttributedString.Key.foregroundColor: Settings.shared.theme.secondaryColor]

        // Status bar style
        barStyle = Settings.shared.theme.navbarStyle

        // Tell the system to update it