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(Pocket-lint) - Dark modes aren't really a surprise any more - low-light versions of apps and services are now so widespread as to be practically old hat, so it's more of a surprise when a really major app still hasn't got one.

That's halfway the case when it comes to navigation behemoth Google Maps. For a good long while it's had the option to dim the display and use muted background colours while you navigate, after having set your route and decided your destination, but an overall dark mode hasn't ever arrived. 


The team at 9to5Google has done a full teardown of the app's latest version of Google Maps on Android, and has discovered a few strings of code that put up some proper red flags about incoming changes. 

A bunch of strings involve a range of possible "DARK_MODE" settings, including the option to use a dark theme, a light theme, or to default to your phone's system-wide settings. That's the set of options that most of us are used to on other apps. 

It'll be welcome, too - using Google Maps at night can be a bit of a hodgepodge, with some elements able to render in darker colour schemes, but many defaulting to bright versions that can be jarring. 

With icons and assets also making it into the new version of the app, it looks like the dark mode could be coming pretty imminently, although there's obviously no actual hint to be found as to when this might be. We'll keep our eyes out, regardless. 

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Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.