How To Enable Apple Maps Dark Mode for iPhone & CarPlay

Apple Maps is a popular choice for iPhone users who prefer it over Google Maps.

It has many different features, and you can customize the interface.

This means you can enable a Dark Mode that makes the route much easier for the driver to see.

Here’s How to Enable Apple Maps Dark Mode for an iPhone & CarPlay:

  • Use your iPhone’s display settings to enable Dark Mode.
  • Set Dark Mode to automatic for viewing in different lights.
  • Set Dark Mode on CarPlay using the display panel.


In the rest of this article, I’ll go through the above steps so that you can easily switch between Light Mode and Dark Mode on your iPhone and CarPlay display.

I’ll also briefly touch on how to change your CarPlay wallpaper for the ultimate personalized drive.

apple maps dark mode vs light mode compared

1. Use Your iPhone’s Display Settings To Enable Dark Mode

Your iPhone uses the display settings to decipher when to use Dark and Light Mode.

If you haven’t configured your iPhone to personalize your settings, you may find that it switches between the modes depending on the light sources around you. 

For example, if it’s dark outside while you’re driving, it may automatically switch to Light Mode. Similarly, if the sun is very bright, Dark Mode may appear.

This is supposed to make viewing the details on the screen easier regardless of how bright or dark it gets around you.

However, if you’re using Apple Maps on a long drive and it is set permanently to Light Mode, you might find it difficult to see your route clearly on the screen.

Thankfully, this is a relatively simple fix. 

Watch the video or follow the instructions below: 

Follow the instructions below to use your iPhone’s display settings to enable Dark Mode:

  1. On your iPhone, tap on your Settings icon on the home screen. 
  2. Scroll down to Display & Brightness.
  3. There should be a Dark and Light Mode icon, along with an Automatic toggle. Select “Dark” to keep it from switching between the modes. 


As see the video below, switching between the options:

apple iphone brightness and display settings for dark mode

This should keep your Apple Maps from switching between modes, allowing you to see clearly in any light. 

2. Set Dark Mode to Automatic for Viewing in Different Lights

You can use the steps above to set your mode to Automatic on your iPhone.

The only difference is that you’ll want to switch on the Automatic toggle rather than the Dark Mode.

This will allow the iPhone to use the surrounding light to decipher which mode is best used.

Or you can set an “Appearance Schedule,” which has deeper settings allowing you to:

  • Choose for it to change based on “Sunset & Sunrise”. When it’s dark outside, apple maps dark mode is enabled. When it’s light outside, the light mode is enabled.
  • Set a “Custom Schedule”. You can then choose specific times for the dark and light modes to appear. As seen in the image below:


apple iphone dark mode automatic settings

With this, it’ll enable you to drive without worrying about switching between the modes manually, and it will be done automatically. 

3. Set Dark Mode on CarPlay Using the Display Panel

If you often use CarPlay to set your routes rather than your iPhone screen, you can perform a similar task to the above on the CarPlay display.

Personalizing how you view Apple Maps while driving will make your drive a lot simpler, and you’ll be able to view your route however you choose.

While Dark Mode is often the default appearance on Apple CarPlay, this may not be the case for you.

In this instance, you’ll need to switch the appearance manually. 

To set Dark Mode on CarPlay using the display panel in your car, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that your iPhone is switched on and connected to your CarPlay system. You can either use your Bluetooth function or manually plug the iPhone into the system.
  2. Make sure that CarPlay is switched on. It should automatically switch on once you’ve connected your iPhone to the system.
  3. On your CarPlay display (located on the car’s dashboard), select the Settings function. Once there, you can click on Appearance.
  4. There should be Dark, Light, and Automatic modes in the Appearance section. Choose Dark Mode to prevent you from having to manually switch between modes in the future.


Doing this should ensure that the display appearance will always be dark, whether you’re using Apple Maps or Google Maps.

Remember that, should you wish to toggle back to Automatic or Light Mode, you can go through the steps above and change the settings whenever you like. 

Note: CarPlay also has an added feature that automatically dims the screen brightness when in low light level conditions; the map will change. Such as going through a tunnel.

See our full article on adjusting Apple CarPlay brightness settings for more information.

Can I Change My CarPlay Wallpaper?

You can change your CarPlay wallpaper the same way you can change the display appearance settings on both your iPhone and the CarPlay system. However, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got the latest iOS version. 

To change your CarPlay wallpaper, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your phone to the CarPlay system. CarPlay should turn on automatically. 
  2. On the display panel on your dashboard, select Settings, and Appearance. There should be a function there called wallpaper. You could then select a “darker color”
  3. On wallpaper, select the wallpaper you prefer. This should automatically change the wallpaper on your display panel. 

Final Thoughts

Enabling Dark Mode on your iPhone will change the appearance of Apple Maps, and switching over to Dark Mode on your CarPlay panel will do the same.

You can easily switch between each of the settings whenever you’d like.

This will make your driving experience much more straightforward, and you’ll never need to worry about too much light making your display challenging to see. 

I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder
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