Dear Apple, Please Fix Safari's Default Dark Mode Link Color

on Bradley Taunt's blog

Supporting dark mode on the modern web falls under the realm of accessibility and should not be ignored. It is important and helps keep the visual flow of your content to match that of your users’ operating system UI. Not to mention, it’s easy to implement and keep consistent across browsers.

Support Dark Mode with Zero CSS

A common practice is to include a @media query via CSS to target styling changes based on whether dark-mode is active. I tend to believe this is overkill for basic websites. Many developers aren’t aware of the HTML color-scheme parameter. (This website itself is using it in place of CSS media queries)

HTML “color-scheme”

Adding the following meta tag inside your document’s head element, you can enable dark mode instantly with zero configuration:

<meta name="color-scheme" content="dark light" />

There are minor caveats:

  1. You should not be specifying any background styling to your body or html elements
  2. You should be not specifying any color styling across any of your readable content (paragraphs, headings, lists, blockquotes)

That’s it! In case you were curious, all major browsers support this color scheme meta tag: https://caniuse.com/mdn-html_elements_meta_name_color-scheme

But Wait, What’s This About Safari?

Even though by adding the color-scheme meta tag we get ourselves good dark mode support across all browsers - Safari has one big oversight: link color. Take a look at the comparison screenshots below (based on one of my older articles). The first one is taken in Firefox, the second in Safari:

Firefox dark mode example
Firefox's default dark mode link color
Safari dark mode example
Safari's default dark mode link color - yuck!

Luckily for us there is a simple solution using minimal amounts of CSS1:

@supports (color-scheme: dark light) {
    @media screen and (prefers-color-scheme: dark) {
        a:link {color: #9e9eff;}
        a:visited {color: #d0adf0;}
        a:active {color: red;}
    }
}

We are brute-forcing Safari to implement the same color HEX codes used by both Firefox and Chrome browsers. How a horrible accessibility oversight could happen within a company as large as Apple is astounding…

Apple: Fix Your Browser’s Dark Mode

My hope if that even one Safari design or development team member stumbles across this article and raises this ticket to the rest of the team2. It’s an unbelievably easy fix and would save developers the headache of overriding these things ourselves.

Thanks for reading and happy dark mode to you all!

  1. Special thanks to Seirdy for suggesting the use of :link and :active support. I recommend you check out his take on dark mode / theme support

  2. This has an open ticket through Webkit Bugzilla 

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