Enable Yaru's dark mode on Ubuntu – applications and GNOME shell

See how to enable the dark mode of the Ubuntu theme, Yaru, in both programs and GNOME Shell (encompassing its menus, panels and the like).


THE Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine came full of news and improvements compared to its predecessors. We covered this new system launch. Alis, check out our review below detailing every aspect of this new phase of the Canonical system.


Before demonstrating the steps required to make the changes, some requirements are required. Obviously the first one is using Ubuntu 19.10 with GNOME 3.34. Canonical modified its theme just after Ubuntu version 19.04 to further align with the standard GNOME theme, as well as to avoid any problems with theme-related applications and bugs. During this period, the possibility of delivering Ubuntu with a light / white Yaru variation. Then gave up on the idea and kept as close to the look of version 19.04 of your system. However, some modifications still remained, and shell elements were delivered with this premise of being somewhat whiter (this is why this matter was created). However, what many do not know is that there is the dark variant of Yaru, not just for apps, and GNOME Shell can also look darker and more nocturnal. This change has not come at the time of Ubuntu 19.10 release, but it is very likely that the next LTS will be available. dark-theme-dark-mode-night-apps-shell-theme-ubuntu-gnome-yaru

We know that by default GNOME does not contain ways to change the themes of your applications and shell, so extra steps are required. Please note that using GNOME extensions at your own risk, I have never had problems with the ones mentioned in this article, but there is a warning.

OK! You already know how to install themes in GNOME, you already have GNOME Tweaks on your system, the next step is to add the extension User Themes so we can change the default shell for the dark variant. There are several ways to get this result, as you have seen in the article that demonstrates installing themes in GNOME, feel free to choose your favorite. You can either search directly from GNOME Software (Ubuntu Software, the store) or from the website GNOME Extensions.

Installing Yaru-Dark Theme for Applications and Shell

I mentioned earlier that the dark Yaru shell theme was not delivered in time for Ubuntu 19.10, as well! Let's use the latest version available in your Github repository.

Let's finally install the theme, but I recommend opening GNOME Tweaks (Settings) and changing the theme of the shell and applications for anyone other than the Yaru family. In the section Appearance, change options Apps and Shell other than Yaru or equivalent.


First of all step by step make sure that in the folder .themes in your home do not contain the theme Yaru. Of course, if such a folder exists, this step is actually a precaution (probably not if you have just performed a clean install). With Ubuntu File Manager open, Nautilus, when using the key combination Ctrl + H, hidden files and folders become visible or return to their previous state.


If you have never cloned a Github repository, or compiled a program using it, some libs will be required. But we can install everything in just one command:

sudo apt install git meson sassc libglib2.0-dev libxml2-utils

The second step is to clone the Yaru theme repository, being simpler and more straightforward, it is nothing more than downloading it. Be aware of the repository that is located when you open the terminal, by default your home directory. Open the terminal by pressing the key combination. Ctrl + Alt + T or run by pressing on your cone. Then type the command and wait patiently until the end of the process.

git clone https://github/ubuntu/yaru

Enter the folder Yaru, via the same terminal, as the example below:

cd yaru

Let's build the theme Yaru, if you noticed, inside the repository we just cloned for our computer, there are several files.

meson build

The process may take some time, wait patiently and then enter the folder that was created.

cd build

Now we will install the theme to our system, however it will not be applied. This step will be performed using the Settings tool (GNOME Tweaks).

sudo ninja install

Restart the computer or exit the current session so the theme will be visible in the system. Open GNOME Tweaks again, if it was already open close it, and look in the section Appearance Yaru-dark, in the options Apps and Shell choose Yaru-dark. Of course, if you prefer, only the shell can be the target of dark mode. I personally use the entire system with this modification.


The result is very pleasing to my eyes, using a dark variant is almost a requirement for my daily life in front of the PC.


At the end of the procedure the cloned repository can also be removed without any problem, none of which impact the theme, as they are already in the proper system directories.

sudo rm -r ~ / .themes / yaru

If for some reason you don't like it and want to remove the theme installed via Github repository, just delete the Yaru folders in the path. / usr / share / themes, and reinstall the default Yaru theme that accompanies version 19.10.

To remove, use the command:

sudo rm -r / usr / share / themes / {Yaru, Yaru-dark, Yaru-light}

Reinstalling the theme, to leave the default theme, proceed as follows:

sudo apt install –reinstall yaru-theme-gnome-shell yaru-theme-gtk

Remember that before removing the theme, you must exchange it for another one in GNOME Tweaks. Attempting to delete it while still in use may result in bugs.

Ubuntu 19.10 came with many good things, however, it does not have a similar option to Pop_OS! 19.10 To switch between different variations of your theme is a much missed feature. This criticism also applies to the GNOME project, as both have dark themes, but only to access them through third party software. That at least in the next Ubuntu LTS the dark theme is added, and perhaps the option to easily switch between Yaru variations (for both apps and shell).

Until the next post, I wait for you here on the blog Diolinux, SYSTEMATICALLY!

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