Quick Tips: Orientation Lock

Apple delivered a bizarre inconvenience to iPad users with iOS Version 4.2 by converting the much-loved orientation lock switch into a mute button. This is puzzling for two reasons:

1)   The orientation lock switch is useful for iPad users who don’t wish to be held captive by the iPad’s tilt.

2)   The iPad already had a mute button (by holding down the volume switch).

This peculiar decision left users in something of a lurch. When you’re reclining and attempting to read on the iPad, it can be very frustrating to have the screen shift from horizontal to vertical. This was presumably done to align all of Apple’s touch screen products. However, the iPad and iPhone/iTouch are different animals. Perhaps a mute button on the iTouch makes more sense, but for the iPad, a device most frequently employed as a reading/App device, an additional mute button is illogical.

But fear not. Although this change is certainly frustrating, Apple has not entirely abandoned us. The orientation lock switch has lived on but in a hidden form.

In order to access it, one must follow the simple steps.

1)   Double press the home button to open the multi-tasking bar.

2)   Scroll all the way to the right.

3)   Tap the orientation lock button. Now, you are free from the tyranny of gravity. To unlock, repeat the same steps and tap the orientation lock button again.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to drag it to be part of your home screen. Is it more inconvenient? Yes. Does it mean that you should jailbreak your iPad? That’s up to personal preference and comfort level with the possibility of a warranty-less iPad. Allegedly, Apple will allow a user to choose the function of the switch in iOS 4.3 (Lock Rotation or Mute), which is certainly a relief. For the time being, this multi-step process is the savior of your reading and relaxing experience.