New Dark Mode and Private Themes are causing eye strain & discomfort

Description of the issue:

The new dark theme and private mode theme introduced in the 1/25/2024 brave (chromium 121) update are giving many brave users issues.

The dark theme is too dark and text is difficult to read to due to the contrast of the text against a pure black background. On an IPS monitor and laptop, It is very difficult to read the text of the URL bar.

In private mode, text legibility is even worse. The text contrast especially on the tab labels is very low. I struggle to read the labels of my tabs and the URL text field. It is unreadable much of the time and the icons like bookmarks and forward/back and practically invisible.

The only way to restore some of the old theme is to change the profile theme to dark/grey but this doesn’t change the private mode window theme, which is still incredibly hard to read.

How can this issue be reproduced?

  1. Use the new dark mode theme or private mode theme Brave introduced in 1.62.153

Expected result:

Be able to read the browser text without eye strain.

Brave Version( check About Brave): Brave version 1.62.153

Additional Information:


The new dark theme and private mode changes are a total mess, as they have significantly compromised the visual experience by disrupting the color scheme and contrast.


Thank you for the feedback. Will pass this along to the team.


Would be good to get more information from anyone else with this opinion. Additionally can you share screenshots of how it appears on your end so we can get a better idea of what you’re seeing?

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Thank you for getting back to me, I appreciate it. I have attached some screenshots of what I am experiencing. Just a side note, I use an IPS ACER Nitro gaming monitor & IPS macbook air M1 as my displays, so contrast levels aren’t as good compared to a VA or OLED. (which I would imagine would actually give more eye strain)

In dark mode, the background is much too dark now, in both the tabs and the bookmark bar. It is especially difficult to read the text in the URL field. Also when putting the mouse over the bookmarks, there is no way to tell which bookmark I am selecting because the highlight background color is the same as the bookmark bar. So there is no ability to see what bookmark I am selecting unless I look directly at the mouse cursor. I also do not like the change where ONLY the main URL is white, but the rest of the URL is greyed out.

In private windows, the tab text is very difficult to read. The contrast is low and I have to move closer to my monitor & strain to read the text. The icons like back/forward/bookmark/extensions are basically invisible. Very faint and dim compared to the neon glow of the purple. The old theme was much easier to read and navigate imo.

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(ok i am not good with technology so i’m trying tp provide what information i think i’m supposed to - I use a DESKTOP-NR07Q8L , MSI , GS63 Stealth 8RE , Intel(R) UHD Graphics 630)

I’m replying to provide another perspective. This is really interesting. I don’t think what I’m seeing is probably much different from what you (the original poster) is seeing, but I like the level of contrast it’s at now. Dark or low contrast is much easier on my eyes, and I have dark mode everywhere on everything. Most of my lights in my home are turned off right now. but!

I can adapt to a higher contrast. Please do not make it stark white buttons and text, I’m sure there’s a happy medium, but at least I can adapt. OP can’t ‘adapt’ unless they blast the brightness all the way up, get glasses or new eyes, or new monitor settings or something.

Please don’t change the colours to the opposite extreme, where right now it’s hard to read for some and then it’s changed to being hard on the eyes for others though.

Attached is my screenshot of my private tab. (I can’t include a screenshot of a regular browser window because mine has a theme applied to it.)

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I understand this perspective. I thought it was perfect in the previous version, a happy middle ground. Perfectly legible and didn’t sear my eyeballs at night.

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I hope they can find something and that there’s less eye strain in your future.

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For me it’s okay. I really like the new dark theme. I don’t like the previous one. But Brave need to preserve it for some other users that do like it, like give the option to user to switch back to the previous theme if they want to.


@michal @Saoiray @Mattches

iPhone iOS 15.8.1, Brave 1.61.1

Brave offers light / dark / auto theme customization in setting. Also available private mode browsing which have violet color theme. I understand that you wanted to highlight private mode browsing, so created this violet color design theme which looks beautiful but tiring eyes because too bright and colourful.
Please add to settings “Appearance” possibility to customize also permanent private mode (enabled in settings - “Brave shields & privacy” - “Private browsing only”) to light / dark color theme. I like your black color dark theme which is calm for my eyes which I want to use in “Private browsing only” setting.

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As you can see in the screenshot shared by @nintendork07, the icons on the toolbar, such as bookmarks, extensions, reload, etc., appear washed out, and reading URLs is a bit straining as well. For users who frequently use night mode, it becomes even more painful to use. You can judge for yourself by comparing the latest and previous updates side by side. It’d have been better if there had been a discussion before implementing such a significant UI overhaul. This adjustment to the user interface has not only impacted the visual aesthetics but has also introduced usability issues.


Try the extension “Dark Reader”. Works for me.

the issue with the new themes is with the legibility of the tab bar, URL bar and bookmark bar. not the browser page (plus brave has a dark mode reader already built in)

@Mattches Indeed, the new dark theme is harsh. I can’t use it and I use a custom Nord theme anyway. I would think something closer to the built-in Midnight Blue color would be pleasing as the default, except the URL background is still the harsh dark/black.

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also of note, the hover state for bookmarks is also greatly diminished in this new dark theme. there is no visible outline when hovering your mouse over a bookmark (or at least it is very difficult to see)

same issue as this one opened on Nov 28, 2023

good news regarding this issue. looks like the team is working on fixing some of the new theme’s contrast issues

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I enabled the flag, but the colors haven’t changed as far as I’m concerned. The only thing that’s changed is that tabs are now floating and I’m getting Firefox Proton UI vibes, which I don’t really like.

that’s just for the new icon look another user was asking about. fix for the colors is coming soon, here is the link i was provided in the github thread. it’s in the nightly build currently

Sorry for the late response here, was out sick all last week but mostly came here to post the issue @nintendork07 left above anyway. Thanks again for the constructive feedback and we hope the changes we’re making to the contrast will satisfy everyone.

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