How to make make iPad volume buttons reflect the way you’re holding the tablet

How to make iPad volume buttons flip when switching between landscape and portrait


How to make iPad volume buttons flip when switching between landscape and portrait
You can now change how your iPad’s volume buttons work in landscape mode. Here’s how. And why.
Photo: Cult of Mac

It’s now possible to set your iPad’s volume buttons to reflect that you are holding the tablet in landscape rather than portrait.

It’s an optional change, but one many iPad users have been asking for.

Make iPad volume buttons reflect the way you’re holding the tablet

For many years, which button made the iPad volume louder or softer didn’t change when the tablet was switched between portrait and landscape. The button that was on top in portrait orientation would still increase the volume when the iPad as held horizontally, and the other button always decreased the volume. And that remains the default.

iPadOS Volume Indicator Bar
You press the left button to move this bar to right. Right?
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

But you now have the option to switch them in landscape mode. To understand why, think about the volume indicator bar that appears when you press the volume buttons. With the tablet held horizontally, to get the volume bar to move to the right you press the left button. And to get it to move to the left you press the right button. Not very intuitive.

Still, long-time iPad users are accustomed to the original way, and Apple doesn’t force the change in button functionality. But here’s how you can to set it up yourself.

How to change direction of iPad volume buttons between landscape and portrait modes

How to change iPad volume buttons between landscape and portrait
Go to the Sounds section of Settings to find the toggle switch you’re looking for.
Screenshot: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Making the change you want is as simple as flipping a toggle switch. But that switch is a bit hidden. You aren‘t likely to run across it accidentally.

On the iPad, go to Settings > Sounds then scroll down to the bottom of the screen.

There you’ll see a switch labeled Fixed Position Volume Controls. It is on by default. As Apple puts it, “When enabled, the volume up and down buttons will remain in a fixed position. When off, the buttons will dynamically change depending on the orientation of your iPad.”

So if you want your tablet’s volume buttons to be more logically arranged when it’s held horizontally, flip this toggle switch off. If you want them to stay the same between landscape and portrait, leave it on.

Two limitations

If you can’t find the option to change Fixed Position Volume Controls, there are two possible reasons.

The recently released iPadOS 15.4 is the first version with this option. As Apple succinctly puts it in the changelog, “Volume controls can be set to adjust as you rotate your iPad.” If you don’t have iPadOS 15.4 or newer, you don’t have this feature.

Also, Apple says this option is only available for the iPad (fifth gen and newer), iPad mini (fourth and fifth gen), iPad Air (second gen and newer) and any iPad Pro. If you don’t have one of these models, you can’t make this change.

To get a quick tutorial on all the iPad buttons, visit Apple’s support website.