How to Enable Dark Menu Bar and Dock With Light Theme in MacOS Mojave

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Enabling dark mode in macOS Mojave turns the entire interface dark, which is popular with some users who prefer a dark background. However, other Mac users prefer a little light in the dark and only want a dark menu bar and Dock in macOS Mojave.

User Jay Wong, for instance, posted this question in Apple Stack Exchange:

“I prefer light windows with dark menu bar as in High Sierra. However, it seems I can only choose all-dark or all-light in Mojave now. Are there any way to hybrid or customize it?”

Another Reddit user named u/B3yondL also posed the same question:

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“I’ve been using the dark menu bar for I believe 4 years now ever since Yosemite dropped. Now with Mojave, as far as I can tell, you’re forced to use the dark menu bar with the full dark system. I don’t want the full system dark mode, I just want the dark menu bar. Is it possible?”

We are so used to seeing Finder, Spotlight, Mail and Calendar in Light mode that seeing them in dark mode just doesn’t look right.

Fortunately for those who don’t want the full dark mode of macOS Mojave, there’s a way to limit the dark theme to the menu bar and Dock while keeping the rest of the display in light mode. Remember how you could turn the menu bar and the dock dark in previous versions of macOS? This guide will show you how to restore that feature in macOS Mojave. We’ll teach you the step-by-step guide on how to enable dark menu bar and dock with light theme in macOS Mojave.

This tutorial involves typing in command lines and default commands in the Terminal to execute the changes. But before you do anything else, it is important to back up your data first in case something happens. Make sure you delete your junk files using an app such as Mac repair app so that you don’t copy over the unnecessary files. You can use Time Machine to easily create a backup of the whole system, or you can manually copy your files to an external hard drive. Whatever backup option you choose, make sure that it is updated and secure.

Dark Menu Bar and Dock in macOS Mojave

If you want to use a light theme with dark menu bar and Dock in macOS Mojave, follow these instructions:

  • Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  • Click General, and under the Appearance section, choose Light from the dropdown options. This will enable Light mode on your Mac.
  • Launch the Terminal by going to Applications > Utilities or by searching via Spotlight.
  • Type in the following command:

defaults write -g NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool Yes

  • Hit Return to execute the command.
  • Go back to the Apple menu and log out of your account.
  • Log right back in to the same user account.
  • Click the Apple menu and go back to System Preferences > General.
  • Under the Appearance section, select Dark. This will turn only the menu bar and Dock into dark mode.

This solution works for most Mac users, but some noticed that the Notification sidebar becomes really difficult to read because of the dark theme. To make the Notification Center readable again, follow these steps:

  • Open Terminal by going to Applications > Utilities or by searching via Spotlight.
  • Type in the following command:

defaults write NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool No

  • Hit Return to execute the command.

This will make your Notification Center more visible and readable. If you want to enjoy the dark mode but you need light mode on some apps such as Mail, you can follow these steps to make the changes:

  • Enable dark mode by going to System Preferences > General > Appearance. Next, click the Dark
  • Launch Mail by clicking the icon on the Dock, then click Preferences located in the top left corner.
  • Click the Viewing tab and uncheck Use dark mode for messages.

How to Revert to Default and Full Dark Mode in macOS Mojave

If you modified your dark mode to be limited only to the menu bar and the Dock and later wished to revert to default and full dark mode in macOS Mojave, you can go back to the original theme options by doing these steps:

  • Launch the Terminal app by going to Applications > Utilities. Or you can type in Terminal in Spotlight to open the app.
  • Enter the following command in the Terminal:

defaults write -g NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool No

  • Press Return to run the command.
  • Click the Apple logo and click Log Out from the dropdown menu. Then, log back into the same account.
  • Go back to the Apple menu and return to the System Preferences > General
  • Under the Appearance section, select Dark to turn the full dark mode on. If you prefer to use a full light mode for your Mac, click the Light

This restores the default theme options in macOS Mojave. Clicking either Dark or Light will affect your entire macOS interface.

Dark Mode Safari

Most apps usually have a corresponding dark version, but some websites you visit on Safari will retain their look because of their website UI (user interface). For example, Facebook will also load its usual white and blue theme despite dark mode being on. And this often breaks the somber atmosphere created by the dark theme.

If you want to enjoy a full dark mode experience, you can use a Safari extension that works by changing the theme of the websites you visit. The extension is called Smart Invert, and it was created by a developer named Denk Alexandru. You can download the extension from the Apple iTunes store, and once you activate it, all the websites that you visit using the Safari app will display a darker theme. You can choose between three themes– Dark, Soft Dark or Mono. You can deactivate the dark theme for a specific websites or for all sites.


macOS Mojave’s dark mode is a cool theme that’s been very helpful for some Mac users. However, it’s obvious that the full dark mode is not for everyone. We hope that this guide will help you modify dark mode so you can keep some elements in light mode.

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