iPad Orientation Lock Button to Change to Mute Switch in iOS 4.2

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Since the iPad launched, the button at the top of the right-hand side of the iPad has been used as an orientation lock. Under the iOS 4.2 betas, the button has been changed to a mute switch – and apparently that change is going to become a permanent one when iOS 4.2 is released to the public next month.

According to a report at 9to5Mac, Steve Jobs has confirmed the permanent change in another of his direct email exchanges with a user.

So in iOS 4.2, the top right button will be a Mute button and the Orientation Lock will be toggled via a button in the Multitasking Bar, just to the right of the iPod controls.

When I first saw this change in the first iOS 4.2 beta I thought it might be a nice change, but I’ve come to agree with those who commented on it here – it’s not a good change. Orientation Lock is much more commonly needed on the iPad, and the hardware button is a far easier way to get to it for quick toggling.

Also, there’s already a perfectly good and quick way to mute the volume on the iPad – just by holding down the Volume down switch for a second or so.

Obviously Apple are able to change hardware button functions via software updates, so hopefully they will reconsider this one at some point.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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9 thoughts on “iPad Orientation Lock Button to Change to Mute Switch in iOS 4.2”

  1. I agree that orientation lock is needed quite often, but totally disagree that the current volume button is fine for muting. I often want to turn down my iPad a fair bit but not mute it so i do what we do with every other device in the world with a volume button – i hold down the Reduce Volume button until its at an acceptable volume. Of course on the iPad e volume is muted if you hold it for longer than it takes to remove a mere two bars of volume. This is extremely annoying.

    I for one will be most glad of that ‘function’ taking a hike. It remains to be seen if changing the orientation lock to Mute will be the disaster it’s sort of being pegged as by certain people… ;)

    1. "I for one will be most glad of that 'function' taking a hike."
      I was told that function will not be changing. Holding down the volume button will still lead to mute.

      1. I don't think it's going anywhere. It certainly still works the same way in the current Beta 3 version of iOS 4.2.

  2. The real crime of this forced change is that is is trivial to make it a user-selectable option like Caps Lock. Steve certainly knows how to be inflexible and unyielding when it matters; he apparently hasn't learned the converse.

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