By Jason Snell
September 22, 2021 4:08 PM PT
Using Safari at night gets easier with Noir
For power users and people who like to tweak their devices, the arrival of Safari Extensions in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 is a huge step forward.
Dan has already written about Safari Keyword Search, which lets you quickly access different search engines from within Safari’s Smart Bar. (On my Mac, I use LaunchBar to do this sort of thing—but of course, there’s no LaunchBar for iOS. Safari Keyword Search hits the spot.)
So now I’m here to tell you about another Safari Extension released alongside iOS 15 that has dramatically improved my life: Noir, a $3 app that forces websites that don’t offer up a Dark Mode version into Dark Mode anyway. You can set Noir to match your current system mode (i.e., only darken pages when in Dark Mode), or force every page into Dark Mode all the time.
I read on my iPad a lot, sometimes late at night, and it kills me when everything else on my iPad is in dark mode but some websites just can’t get with the program. With Noir enabled, almost very site I visit is delightfully dark. (By default, Noir doesn’t override a site if it has its own Dark Mode style, though you can choose to override that if it isn’t dark enough for your tastes. All of Noir’s features can be overridden on a per-site basis.)
Not every site I visited worked perfectly with Noir—a couple sites that do all sorts of hinky things, like overriding command-clicks that open links in a new tab, also seem to do weird stuff that foils Noir some of the time. But the developer has a helpful Report Issue With this Website button right within the extension, so there’s hope that those sites will be dealt with in a future update.
Though I haven’t tried it, there’s another extension, the $5 Dark Reader, that does the same thing, more or less. The current version doesn’t seem to match the system theme, but the developer says an update is forthcoming that will do just that.
But I am loving Noir so far. Funny thing—many of the websites that don’t offer a Dark Mode also don’t offer one in their iOS apps. I’m now reading them at night on the web instead of in their apps, because it’s just so much nicer in the dark. I can’t wait to see what Safari Extension changes my life for the better in the future! (C’mon, Library Extension…)