How to navigate the many uses of the Volume and Side Switch buttons on the iPad

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All kidding aside, even though the volume and mute/orientation lock buttons on your iPad adjust and lock volume levels, they actually respond differently in different situations.  Think back to the last time you tried to silence a song or notification, or perhaps you wanted to adjust the volume of a podcast from the lock screen on your iPad.  Were you successful–or did you fumble around for a while before you achieved the desired outcome?  Turns out, the volume and mute/orientation lock buttons might not behave the way you’d anticipate in certain situations.  Here’s a short list of what to expect the next time you reach for those handy buttons on your iPad.

Note:  When Apple released the iPad Air 2 last fall they removed the side switch (mute/orientation lock) button.  To access the functionality that was lost with the removal of this button you now need to use Control Center.

Use the volume control buttons to

  • Adjust the volume of media (e.g. song, movie, podcast)
  • Adjust the volume of alerts and sound effects
  • Mute the sound by holding down until “mute” appears
  • Take a picture or record a video

Use the Side Switch (mute/orientation lock) button to

  • Mute audio alerts
  • Mute notifications
  • Mute sound effects
  • Switch between portrait and landscape views (in settings app–General–> Lock Rotation.)

Exceptions / Alternate methods

  • The Side Switch does not mute the audio from music, podcasts, movies, and TV shows.
  • Lock the ringer and alert volumes by opening Settings–> Sounds–> Turn off change wth buttons.
  • Limit the music and video volume by opening Settings–> Music–> Volume limit.
  • Swipe up from the bottom to Use Control Center to adjust the volume, and turn on Do Not Disturb.


Son of the Windy City, and proud Father to two awesome boys. Rob is a displaced Chicago Bears fan living in the Orlando Florida area. When not obsessing about everything Apple, he can usually be found outside boating across Florida's natural resources and taking the road less traveled.

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