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How to Get Night Mode (White Text & Black Background) on Kobo eReaders

Kobo gives readers a nearly infinite number of different ways to tweak their reading experience so it’s perfect. We can change the margins to either leave a pleasant amount of whitespace or to save as much screen real estate as possible, we can adjust line heights to the optimum setting for our reading comfort, and we can even install the font of our choosing.

Just about the only option Kobo does not give readers is a night reading mode. This is the name given to when you display white text on a black background so that when you read in the dark, it feels like there’s less light shining in your face (this could be readers tricking themselves, but that is how it feels).

Fortunately, there is a way to enable night mode on Kobo ereaders, including the Aura H2O and the Aura One, but there is a catch: You have to change a system setting for your ereader to make it switch to white text on a black screen. There’s no easy way to toggle it on and off, which means you have to be willing to use night mode all the time.

If you want to do that, you’ll need a USB cable, your Kobo ereader, and a PC.

How to Invert the Background and Font Color on Kobo eReaders

  1. The first thing you need to do is connect your ereader to your PC with the USB cable, and then open the file manager on your computer.
  2. Find the ".kobo" folder, open it, and then open the "kobo" folder found inside it.
  3. Select the "Kobo eReader.conf" file, right-click it, and choose the option to edit the file. (Notepad on Windows is a good option, although I usually use an app called Textpad).
  4. After you have the file open, you will need to scroll down and add a couple lines of text to the end of the file. Make sure it is written exactly like this on two lines:
    [FeatureSettings] InvertScreen=true
  5. Once you have added the lines of text, save the file, eject your Kobo ereader, and reboot the ereader (hold down the power button until it turns off, and then press it again to restart it).

After your ereader boots, you should be able to see that the night mode setting has taken effect. If you don’t see it, reboot the ereader, and then repeat the above steps.

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Comments


Burger flipper 28 April, 2018 um 4:33 pm

I thought Wal Mart was supposed to start selling these things. What’s the point in announcing it and not doing it for months?

Nate Hoffelder 28 April, 2018 um 5:01 pm

it was never anything more than a publicity stunt, any way


DMK 7 May, 2018 um 1:09 pm

The thing is… night mode is almost pointless on an e-ink reader, which has an opaque screen to begin with. I suppose a black background might (might) absorb more of the front-light then a white one, but the difference won’t be that much.

Night mode is much more useful in a LCD screen where the liquid crystals will actually block the backlight, instead of just (hopefully) absorbing more of it.

Felix 29 September, 2021 um 8:09 pm

I found the night mode extremely usefull to decrease the amount of "Light" around me when i am reading before sleep and i don’t want to bother my wife, if it wasn’t for that difference in " light perception" (it really looks that there is less light spreading in the surroundings with night mode) and you sleep alone then yes, there is no difference between both modes specially with the option of taking away all of the blue light.


Robert J. Sawyer 17 May, 2018 um 11:37 am

DMK, if you haven’t tried it, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. I use night mode on my various E Ink Kobo devices frequently (there’s a more comprehensive solution available on the Mobileread forum, that allows easy toggling between day mode and night mode), and, indeed Kindle has now followed suit and offers a night mode on their top-end E Ink models. The difference in eye-strain when reading at night is huge, and in night mode I can read without disturbing my wife in bed next to me, whereas in day mode the sidelight (there’s no such thing as "backlight" on an E Ink device) provides too much illumination in a darkened room even at very low brightness settings because of the white background.


lala 9 August, 2018 um 1:25 pm

Is there a way to reverse this?


Jeffery Livingston 8 July, 2019 um 6:20 pm

Just brought my new Kobo H2O Aura home and could not find the setting to get my black screen to come up.Thanks so much for the instructions.


Susan 7 August, 2019 um 6:09 am

If I do this can I go from regular to dark mode or will it always be in dark mode?


stanley t 10 October, 2019 um 4:40 pm

+1 for Susan’s comment. I did this but now it’s stuck in inverted mode. Do I have to change that file each time i want to switch it or is there some kind of toggle? Thank you for any information.


Jamie McFarlane 16 October, 2019 um 10:18 pm

I just wanted to thank you for making this article. I greatly appreciate this so much. I own a kobo and I’ve been very jealous of my fiancee’s kindle which was half the price and has this feature built in. Now I can read at night wihout blinding myself. Even with the candle setting kobo has at 1 percent brightness you can light up a room.


Jamie McFarlane 16 October, 2019 um 10:19 pm

Hi Susan, you would need to erase the code. no toggle for this.


Deb 6 May, 2020 um 6:00 pm

Thanks for the kobo dark mode tip, this is really useful!

For those for whom this is not working/possible/practical, there is a way to convert an epub to white on black (dark mode) using https://wob.jod.li


Bjarne 3 April, 2021 um 6:42 am

Thank you for your detailed explanation. Would really be handy if this were a toggle in kobo settings. There already is a bedtime setting. I too find the side light a bit to bright even on 1% setting when reading at night. A native dark mode would be cool.

Bjarne


Tom Smith 29 January, 2022 um 10:10 pm

Fuck Amazon.


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