(Pocket-lint) - Google recently announced six updates for Android users, including that the Google Maps app is finally getting a true dark mode called dark theme. It's widely releasing the option, which it has been testing since late 2020, and making it easily accessible from the app's settings.

"These days, we’re all experiencing a bit of screen fatigue", Google explained in a blog post on 23 February 2021. "With dark theme in Google Maps soon expanding to all Android users globally, you can give your eyes a much-needed break and save on battery life". Google said the new theme lowers the lights when you’re navigating and exploring with Maps, and it's easy to switch back to the regular theme whenever you wish.

How to enable 'Always in Dark Theme' in Google Maps

Google said Google Maps' new dark theme will roll out to Android users "soon". When it becomes available, here's how you'll turn it on:

  1. Open the latest version of the Google Maps app on Android.
  2. Head to your Settings.
    • Tap your profile icon in the Maps search bar.
    • Scroll down to Settings.
  3. Tap on Theme.
  4. Select “Always in Dark Theme” to turn on Google Maps' new dark mode.
  5. Change your mind? Just tap on “Always in Light Theme” to switch it back.

Anything else you should know?

Google announced dark theme as part of a group of new features coming to Android, including updates to Android Auto, which is getting custom wallpapers and games. Android Auto is also getting a split-screen feature that puts Maps side by side with media controls. Google is adding shortcuts to the Android Auto launch screen, as well, providing quicker access to things like weather.

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The Android Auto features will be available “in the coming days” on phones running Android 6.0 and above in compatible cars.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.