Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

Technical: avoiding dark mode on the Mac

Posted by universalis on 22 March 2021

Mac OS has a ‘dark mode’, in which text is light on a dark background, taking us back to the 1980s and the era of VDUs. The Universalis app and program for the Mac now obey the dark mode and if you select it in the system settings, the text in Universalis will be light on a dark background.

It appears that some people want to have Mac OS in dark mode but still have Universalis displaying dark text on a light background. This is rather an unexpected requirement, but Mac OS does allow this to happen. Here are the instructions.

First of all, close Universalis if you have it open.

Open the Terminal app. To find it, open the Utilities subfolder within the Applications folder; or just press Command+Space and start typing “terminal” into the Spotlight search bar.

The exact command you need next depends on whether you are using the Universalis app from the Mac App Store or the Universalis program from our web site.

Universalis app (round icon, bought from the Mac App Store)

defaults write com.universalis.UniversalisApp NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool yes

Universalis program (square icon, downloaded from our site)

defaults write com.universalis.universalis-program NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool yes
  1. In each case, copy the whole line from this page (it is just one long line), paste it into Terminal, and hit Return to perform the command.
  2. The next time you open Universalis, it will have dark text on a light background.

Changing back

To undo this change, use the same command as before, but replace “yes” with “no”.

A final technical note

The web page from which we derived these instructions says that to make these changes “take” you need to copy-and-paste this further line:

killall cfprefsd

In all our experiments, we have never found this to be necessary.

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