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Theatre Mode is far from the Dark Mode feature we’ve been hoping for

Apple Theatre Mode

A few weeks ago, iPhone users began eagerly anticipating the release of the first iOS 10.3 beta after word surfaced that the release might finally introduce a system-wide Dark Mode option. A feature long desired by iPhone power users, rumors of its existence and eventual release have persisted for quite some time, unfortunately to no avail. Just a few weeks ago, noted leaker Sonny Dickson added fuel to the speculative fire when he claimed that the rumored Dark Mode feature might be called “Theater Mode.”

Yesterday, Apple at long last released iOS 10.3 beta 1 and, surprise surprise, there was no Dark Mode feature to speak of. Incidentally, we did see the release of a watchOS changelog which makes reference to the aforementioned “Theater Mode”, a mode which will only be available for Apple Watch users.

There’s no reason to get jealous, though, as it appears that Theater Mode and Dark Mode are definitely not one in the same. Per Apple, Theater Mode, when activated on the Apple Watch, disables the ‘raise to wake’ feature, thereby preventing movie-goers from creating a distraction when adjusting their arms. Furthermore, Theatre Mode also mutes sounds, though users can still receive alert notifications via haptic feedback. In effect, Theatre Mode appears to be nothing more than an Apple Watch variant of the Do Not Disturb feature currently available on the iPhone.

Apple’s changelog reads in part:

Theater Mode lets users quickly mute the sound on their Apple Watch and avoid waking the screen on wrist raise. Users still receive notifications (including haptics) while in Theater Mode, which they can view by tapping the screen or pressing the Digital Crown.

And so the wait for an official Dark Mode feature for the iPhone rages on. Given that we’re now about six months away from WWDC 2017, it probably stands to reason that if Apple is working on a Dark Mode option, it won’t see the light of day until iOS 11.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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