How to Enable Night Mode (White Text, Black Background) on Kobo eReaders

Kobo Night Mode

I came across an interesting trick at MobileRead the other day for Kobo’s line of E Ink ebook readers—the Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, Kobo Touch, and Kobo Aura HD—to get them to display white text on a black background instead of the usual black text on a white(ish) background.

It’s a straightforward trick that doesn’t require any other hacks or tweaks (except with the Kobo Mini you need to install an additional tool to enable night mode since it doesn’t have a light or home button to turn night mode on/off).

I’ve used night mode on a hacked Nook Touch before, but this is the first time I’ve seen it on an E Ink ereader since. Night mode is of course meant for backlit LCD tablets, phones, and computers to help minimize the bright white light emitted from the screen while staring at it for long lengths of time while reading, especially at night.

On an E Ink ereader the concept isn’t quite the same since there isn’t any light being emitted from behind the screen. Nevertheless some folks would rather have white text on a black background, and it does have some advantages. Plus you have to admit it does look pretty cool. The one downside, though, is that ghosting is more apparent.

If you want to give night mode a try, here’s how to do it. I’ll give the short and simple method; more detailed information can be found on MobileRead and Github. There are directions over there to further tweak the settings if you want.

How To Enable Night Mode on Kobo eReaders

1. Download the Kobo Night Mode Zip File to your computer (this link is build 8 from MobileRead; hit the Github page above for future releases). Update: This version no longer works with firmware 3.3; here’s the link to the updated build for 3.3.

2. Extract the kobo-nightmode_build8.zip. Inside you’ll find folders for installer, uninstaller, and extra.

3. Plug your Kobo eReader into your computer with the USB cable. On the Kobo device choose to connect to your computer when asked.

4. After connecting your Kobo device, now all you need to do is copy the KoboRoot.tgz file from the Kobo Night Mode installer folder to the .kobo folder on the root of the Kobo eReader drive. Do not extract the KoboRoot.tgz file.

Kobo Folder

5. After coping over the file, close the Kobo drive and choose to safely remove/eject the device from your computer. Then unplug the USB cable and the Kobo Reader will automatically restart.

6. To turn on Night Mode, simply hold down your Kobo’s light button for 1 second, or the home button on the Kobo Touch. Since the Kobo Mini doesn’t have any extra hardware buttons, you have to use a separate tweak called KoboLauncher to enable night mode, which I haven’t tried yet so cannot comment on.

If you want to uninstall the night mode tweak, just follow the directions again but use the KoboRoot.tgz file from the uninstaller folder instead.

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55 Responses to “How to Enable Night Mode (White Text, Black Background) on Kobo eReaders”

  1. Rodrio F Vasquez Reply July 6, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Worked fine on kobo glo.

    Obs: Firmware 2.6.1

  2. Steve Brissette Reply July 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Worked fine on Kobo Touch too, thanks ! :-)

  3. Works on Kobo Touch~! Thanks~!

  4. how do I use this on my Aura HD via Mac ?

  5. It works perfect on a Kobo Glo with FW. 2.3.1, great Job. But is it possible to get the background even darker? That will upgrade the contrast. Thank You very much!

  6. Works fine with Glo FW 2.8.1, too.

  7. Thanks , works perfect on my glo! Great solution and very simple to install. Many thanks!

  8. pedroso268@yahoo.com Reply August 27, 2013 at 3:56 am

    hi there:
    thanks very much. it has worked perfect in my new kobo aura ereader. why this is not included in the kobo don’t know. it makes a HUGE difference when reading at night time.

    charlie po

  9. From France : many thank’s. Usefull.

  10. Works fine on my Aura HD

  11. Reinhard Pössinger Reply October 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Just installed it on my Kobo Glo with FW 2.8.1 Works fine. Really brilliant solution. Thanks a lot.

  12. Works even perfect with Glo 2.10.0

  13. Does anyone know how to do this using a MAC? Thanks!

  14. Wonderful on my Kobo Glo 2.10.0!

    Thanks!

  15. Since the new update from Kobo it does not work anymore on my Kobo aura HD

  16. is this still working for people? i was thinking of buying a kobo touch but would like this mode to work for me

  17. I don’t get it. If you can make the Kobo Touch light with this plugin, why pay more for Kobo Glu?

  18. It doesn’t word with my Kodo Aura. I think it stops working with the latest firmware :-(

  19. Just installed it (a bit reluctantly since I am no computergeek ;)) and it works just fine with my kobo glo.
    Gave me the creeps when I turned it on for the first time and it shimmered a few times, but then it started just fine.
    Tnx for sharing!

  20. Same here Luca,
    it doesn’t seem to work on KOBO AURA.
    software version : 3.1.1 (761b066420, 11-12-13) (european date stamp)

  21. Does anyone know how to do this on the mac? please help

  22. Can’t seem to get this to work on brand new glo … Followed all instructions… Light button still just toggles light on and off.
    Have I missed something? Help please!

  23. Didn’t worked on my kobo glo.
    Firmware 3.3.0

  24. Works like a bomb, thank you!
    Kobo Touch ver 3.3

  25. Works fine with updated build for 3.3.!
    Kobo Glo Firmware 3.3.0

  26. Tks a lot work fine with Kobo Aura HD firmware 3.3

  27. Finally i found best blog for enabling night mode on KOBO. Thanks for Great solution and giving very simple software to install.

  28. how to copy koboroot.tgs file from installer to .kobo Reply July 12, 2014 at 5:08 am

    pls help. how to copy koboroot.tgs file from the installer. pls give detailed steps.

  29. how to copy koboroot.tgs file from installer to .kobo Reply July 12, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    copy and paste not working .I will try drag and drop. thanks

  30. it’s working well. tried it today. like to know in future updates of firmware will this hack will cause any problem. mine Now is 3.3.0

    • Future firmware updates are likely to make it not work, all right. Then you have to reinstall it, perhaps with a new modified version. I’ll keep the post updated. Reports suggest it still works with the new 3.5.0 firmware.

  31. Worked GREAT on my Kobo aura HD, THAAANKS!

  32. Updated to 3.8 and it still works (after re-installation). Mac users should be advised that the .kobo folder will be invisible until they apply one of the many tricks to get the Mac Finder to show invisible files (files with names that start with a . ) Get the invisible files showing, update then turn off the display of invisible files. The instructions above should be edited to make this step clear for Mac users.

  33. Installed the updated build (build13) for my Kobo Aura H20 but when I hit my power button, it still goes to sleep (or, if I hold it a bit longer, it powers down). Tried the build8 file just in case with no success. Ideas?
    Thanks!

    • Software version: 3.7.0

      • Enabling night mode requires holding the light button, not the power button, so I don’t think it will work the same on the H2O. You probably have to install KoboLauncher to use it like with the Kobo Mini (step #6).

        • Installing that file caused all sorts of problems. I was able to remove it, thankfully. Guess night mode isn’t currently in the stars for the H20.
          Thanks anyway!

  34. Works ok. Just thinking in black mode would battery last longer? What is the default on e-ink devices?

  35. Oh, man. I just installed this on my new Glo, and it’s hanging on restart. Reading through this thread, it doesn’t seem like this is a usual occurrence, but I’m starting to freak out about what to do about it. Holding the power switch on doesn’t affect anything; neither does plugging it in. Any ideas?

  36. Never mind! PHEW. I managed to force the restart using a paperclip in the tiny hole on the bottom. It restarted, and the hack is working perfectly. Thank you so much for this!

  37. So, I’ve put the file (KoboRoot.tgz) in the .kobo folder on my new kobo aura hd, 3.11.0 ver.
    each time I eject and restart the file is gone.
    any thoughts?

  38. Does it work on a KOBO Aura? I need it for medical reasons…

  39. Does it work on kobo aura 3.12.0?