Gmail dark theme oddly missing for some on Android 10

The highly anticipated Gmail dark mode widely rolled out to Android 10 in late October. Over the past day, several users have reported that the Gmail dark theme has gone missing from their devices.

In the last 24 hours, there have been several reports that Gmail reverted back to the light theme without any user action. Besides the very obvious and bright visual change when opening the email client, the option is gone from preferences.

Visiting Settings (at the bottom of the navigation drawer) > General settings should show “Theme” as the very first item. For those affected, the ability to switch between Light, Dark, and System default is gone.

There’s a particularly high rate of reports from Pixel 2, 3, and 4 owners that do have the “Dark theme” enabled in Android system settings, with no other apps bugging out. That said, this does not appear to be a widespread issue and none of our devices are affected.

The Gmail account on Twitter is not offering any particularly useful responses beyond a generic support document about turning on the feature.

It’s unclear what caused the actually dark mode setting in Gmail to disappear. The last update to the Android client (version 2019.12.30) rolled out in mid-January. There has been no new Android 10 release, and some server-side change by Google is presumably responsible for Gmail’s dark theme being missing.

One possible fix for Gmail’s dark theme going missing is deleting the app. Since Gmail is a system application, you cannot remove it by dragging the icon. Rather, hold down on the app icon from your homescreen and tap the “Info” icon the in the top-right corner. From here, tap the overflow icon in the top-right again and “Uninstall updates.” Afterwards, visit the Play Store and update Gmail again.

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