Ubuntu 20.04 has arrived with a plethora of changes, not only in bundled software and performance but in appearance as well. The Dark Mode theme is available on Ubuntu 20.04, and it provides a distinctive dark mode experience throughout the Ubuntu Desktop UI, including desktop apps, web browsers, file explorers.

Let us see how to get the ultimate dark mode experience in Ubuntu 20.04.

Enable Dark Theme Ubuntu Settings

You can directly change the theme in Ubuntu 20.04 by opening Settings » Appearance.

Here you can choose from Light, Standard or Dark themes. Selecting the theme automatically applies it. Select the option Dark to apply the Dark theme.

However, there is one area which this theme doesn’t cover. It is the Ubuntu Desktop itself. The theme is applied to all the apps, but not on the Desktop itself. Eg. the Status Panel on right hand top corner or Calender.

Although it doesn’t make much of a difference since these are only two places where the dark theme doesn’t apply, if a user wants the absolute 100% Dark Mode experience, there is a way to do it with some additional installations.

The desktop is a part of GNOME Shell UI in Ubuntu. We need to change the GNOME Shell theme to Dark to make the Desktop UI Dark as well.

Use GNOME Shell Dark Theme to Extend Dark Mode

Firstly we need to install some things to change the GNOME Shell theme. Run the following command to install the required apps and extension pack:

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

This package installs the GNOME Shell Extensions which contains a number of User Themes. It also contains the GNOME Shell Dark Theme. The package installs all the extensions, not only themes, hence it is a bit large in size.

It also installs GNOME Tweaks and the newly introduced GNOME Extensions App respectively. We need both these to enable the GNOME Shell Dark theme.

After the installation is done, ‘Log out’ and then ‘Log in’ so that the extensions are detected.

We need to enable the User Theme extension. To enable it, open GNOME extensions App. Or you can just open GNOME Tweaks, which has an extensions menu in it.

To open Tweaks go to Activities and search for Tweaks.

Go to Extensions and enable User Themes extension.

Go to Appearance and under Themes->Shell choose Yaru-dark.

That’s it. Check the desktop calender and status menu to verify if it is in dark theme.

In this way, we can have a full Dark Mode in Ubuntu 20.04. It is unclear to us why the dark theme was not extended to the desktop by default, but using the small steps given above, you can easily extend the dark theme to desktop.