If you’ve ever had the displeasure of sitting through a movie while another moviegoer texts or talks on their phone, you’ll be delighted to hear that Apple is working on a solution to this problem for their next iOS rollout.
Speculation over the new “Theater Mode” setting was started with a tweet from Sonny Dickson, a Forbes contributor who has leaked new Apple innovations in the past.
Supposedly, Theater Mode would disable noise and/or light coming from a wireless device to help deter individuals from using their phone at a movie theater. Some have alluded that Theater Mode would change the phone’s screen to a minimalistic red display, making it easier for the user to see in the dark yet less distracting for those around them. Others have proposed that the setting would cut cell phone functionality similar to airplane mode while physically in the theater. This new feature would be accessed from the Control Panel via a fun, popcorn shaped icon.
Some die-hard movie fans and industry buffs aren’t happy with the news and worry that Theater Mode would actually encourage moviegoers to use their phones in the theater. One theater chain in particular, the Alamo Drafthouse, has a strict no texting policy (and when say strict, we mean “take your phone out and they kick you out of the movie” strict).
Many agree that a Theater Mode setting won’t stop young movie fans from texting at the movies, but some theater chains have embraced this fact. AMC CEO Adam Aron commented earlier in 2016 that taking certain theaters and making them “texting friendly” would be a great way to appeal to a younger audience.
Certain live theaters have already begun this practice, designating “tweet seats” for each performance where theater attendees are encouraged to text, live-tweet, and post during the performance (just as long as they don’t use Facebook Live or Periscope).
As of now, its unclear if Theater Mode will provide an easier way to use our phones during a movie, or if it will completely stop incoming calls and texts throughout the course of the film. The beta version of Theater Mode is scheduled to be released in early January, so we’ll have to kick back, make a batch of popcorn, and wait and see.