Going to the movies means keeping your phone in your pocket or risk upsetting your fellow theater goers. Apple is reportedly setting out to solve that problem with an upcoming update to iOS that will introduce Theater Mode.

Existing somewhere between Do Not Distrub and a grounded and less restricted version of Airplane Mode, Theater Mode will provide iPhone users with limited access to their device and will dim the screen in a way that won't distract others in attendance.

Notifications and incoming calls would reportedly be blocked when the mode, activated by tapping a popcorn-shaped icon, is enabled. Texting, however, would still be allowed thanks to the discrete lighting of the screen.

Apple has been sitting on the concept for some time now, filing a patent for the idea back in 2012. The patent, granted to the company in 2014, claimed the feature would kick in when a user is in a movie theater, at which point the device "deactivates its cellular communications interface and/or automatically sets the device to a silent mode. When the user leaves the movie theater, the portable device enables phone communications and/or restores the ringer setting to the setting utilized prior to the device’s deactivation.”

Apple might be better positioned to bring this feature to fruition since implementing its Night Shift feature in iOS 9. Night Shift, which cribbed from the popular third-party app F.lux, reduces the blue light emissions from the iPhone's screen, switching to warmer colors that are easier on the eyes—especially at night.

That technology could help make the iPhone's screen a less jarring presence when it lights up in the middle of a pitch black theater. It's hard to imagine a way for the screen to go by completely unnoticed, but Apple's rumored new feature could at least make the device less of a distraction.

Theater Mode wouldn't just be a welcome invention for movie goers but for theater owners as well. Adam Aron, the CEO of AMC Entertainment—the second largest theater chain in the United States—once copped to the fact that it's hard to get people to disconnect from their small screens, even when there's something entertaining on the massive screen in front of them. 

"When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow. You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life,” he said in an interview with Variety last year. Aron floated the idea of text-friendly theaters, but walked it back shortly after following a public outcry against the idea.

A beta version of iOS 10.3 is expected to roll out on Jan. 10. If a popcorn-shaped icon is present in the Control Center, we'll know Apple is serious about its attempts to keep people connected even in the theater.