iPhones could be getting a ‘theater mode’ so you can stay connected in the cinema

The cinema is one of the few places left where we’re told to turn off our phones and disconnect from the world for a couple of hours. But that could be about to change if rumors of an iPhone ‘theater mode’ prove to be true.

The rumors have come from established Apple news leaker Sonny Dickson, who recently tweeted that iOS version 10.3 could see the introduction of this ‘theater mode’ and that it would have a new “popcorn-shaped control center icon.”

A theater mode could mean many things but the popcorn icon heavily suggests a mode that’s intended to make iPhones more cinema-friendly. 

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Dark mode

Since the tweet doesn’t offer any more information on what exactly theater mode is for or what it will do, speculation is rife, with many suggesting the mode could involve darker screens or silent notifications. 

Whether or not such changes would actually make a phone more acceptable to use in the cinema is probably more of a matter of opinion. In a completely dark room it’s hard not to notice a phone screen flash up in your periphery, even when the screen brightness is dimmed. 

Besides the distraction it causes for other people, if we use our phones during a film we’ve usually paid quite a lot of money to see, it’s unlikely that we’re giving it our full attention. How often have you unwittingly missed half an hour of your favorite TV show because you got caught in an Instagram black hole?

For those who absolutely can’t turn off their phones, even in the cinema, because they have to be available in the event of an emergency, such a mode could be a blessing. Not only would it allow them to enjoy a film without worrying someone specific is trying to contact them, it would allow them to check any notifications to ease their mind with minimal distraction to others. 

A theater mode would have its positives and negatives but whether it actually will be a feature in the future iOS update is still to be confirmed.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.