The iPad “Mute” Switch

If you’re having issues with any apps not playing sound on your iPad it most likely has to do with the “mute” function. When you take an iPad out of the box you’ll see this switch on the side.

It’s called the Side Switch and by default it is set to Mute. Flip it on to mute all sounds. The confusing thing is that any movies or music that are played do not get muted when the switch is flipped on. If an app has a movie in it, a game with an intro movie for instance, the movie will produce sound but when its over the rest of the app will be muted. So if you’re not getting sound when you expect it, check Side Switch and see if it’s turned on or off.

Orientation Lock

Here’s where it gets confusing, when the iPad first came out this switch was set as an orientation lock by default. This allows you to lock the screen so you can lay down in bed and read without the screen flipping around on you. In some updates a while back Apple confused this by changing the switch to “mute” to be more like how the iPhone works. After all the first-generation iPad owners got really confused and mad Apple decided to let the user decide what they wanted the switch to do. You can make this decision yourself by going to Settings > General > Use Side Switch to: and declaring what you’d like it to do.

We personally like having Side Switch set to Orientation Lock as we find it very handy and it doesn’t get quite as confusing with the whole “mute” thing.

No matter what you have Side Switch set to you can always easily “mute” or “turn the sound all the way down” by holding the volume down button. In just a few seconds it will turn the sound all the way down.

Multitasking Status Bar

But wait, before you think you’ve got this all figured out let me tell you about one more way you can control mute or orientation lock! If you double-click the Home button it will bring up the “Multitasking Status Bar.” This bar will show all the apps you’ve run recently. Flick it from left to right you’ll see this handy thing.

It let’s you easily control any music you’re playing, the brightness of the screen, and hey look a mute button! This button will be the opposite of what you have Side Switch set to. So if your Side Switch is set to Mute then this button will be orientation lock.

If you change your Side Switch setting it sometimes causes things to get stuck, like if you have the iPad muted and then set Side Switch to Orientation Lock the iPad will be muted with seemingly no way to un-mute it. This is where you’ll need the Multitasking Status Bar. Get in there and you can get that mute out of there.

That should be about it! If you have any more questions about all this let us know!

Further resources:
Check out the Official iPad Instruction Manuals here.
Our friends TC Geeks have all kinds of tips and are very helpful.

*Still confused? If you do not have a setting to change Side Switch you are likely using the first iPad with an old version of the OS. You’ll have to plug your iPad into your computer and use iTunes to update the OS to use these settings. Else you can live with the Side Switch forever being set to mute.

by Ben