Here’s another one of those quirky, brilliant hidden features of the iPhone’s operating system. I’m sure you’ve all muted a phone call while on the line with someone, right? What about when you’re on speaker phone? Mute makes sure that the other person can’t hear you, but you certainly can still hear them. That can be frustrating, especially when in a room with other folks, like during an interview.
Sometimes it’s just good to mute both sides of the conversation, right? Hold is the way your iPhone can do that.
A large proportion of iPhone 4S adopters have been hit by an issue on the new device that randomly mutes their audio when they make a call. Their recipient appears to pickup — or the call goes to voicemail — but they do not hear anything.
If you’re one of these users and you’re hoping for a fix in Apple’s upcoming iOS 5.1 software update, then you may be disappointed. According to developers already testing the release, it does not address this particular issue.
Everyone’s favorite Twitter client from Tapbots just got an awesome update that introduces t.co URL shortening, support for international hashtags, the ability to email direct messages, and some bug fixes. But Tweetbot’s best new feature by far is mute filters, which allow you to ignore the people you don’t want to hear to for a while.
Apple released iOS 4.2.1 for the iPad and true to their word converted the iPad switch from screen orientation lock to mute and un-mute. If you’ve had an iPad since it launched you’ll understand how convenient that switch can be when using your iPad. Of course, this change brings the iPad into alignment with the iPhone. The iPhone switch has always been used to mute and un-mute that device.
Both devices now use the switch in the same way and the screen orientation lock has been moved to the running tasks bar which is accessible by double-tapping the Home button and swiping to the left.
iPad task bar displaying the screen orientation lock on the left.
When the iPad was first announced, the little “lock switch” was originally intended to be a mute toggle. When the product launched, it was a “screen orientation lock”. Apparently it’s headed back for mute purposes. I think it’s a shame, as I see several paths to more usefulness.
There’s an interesting change in the way iOS 4.2 handles orientation lock on the iPad… one that indicates a curious design backpedal on the part of Cupertino.
Previously, orientation lock on the iPad was handled with a physical hardware switch on the side of the device, but in iOS 4.2, it has been repurposed as a physical “Mute” button, with the orientation lock achieved the same way it is on the iPhone 4 or iPod Touch under iOS 4: through the multitasking tray.
It’s a minor but significant change that, I suspect, portends the elimination of the mute/screen orientation button on the second-generation iPad. For famously minimal and streamlined Apple, a physical mute button doesn’t make a lot of sense on an iOS device that isn’t a phone.