The iPad’s side-switch is set to mute the volume by default. But did you know that you can change this behavior. If you just bought an iPad and it’s your first, this tip can be quite handy.

Note: this is a basic/beginner iPad tip. Since Apple removed the Lock-Orientation shortcut from iOS 7 (earlier, available in the multi task-switcher), we thought this would be a handy tip. Please skip to other posts if you know about the side-switch function already.

The iPad has two (actually three) buttons on the side. The volume button is of course easily recognizable. The other switch is a toggle which lets you mute / un-mute the iPad.

How to Use iPad Side-switch to Lock Rotation

But if you’re not going to be muting/un-muting the iPad often, you can change the default behavior of this switch to something else: Lock screen-orientation.

In order to set this, all you have to do is get into General settings and configure the option. Here’s how:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap on General
  • Under “Use Side Switch To:”, select Lock Rotation

Select Lock Rotation on iPad

  • Now, whenever you toggle the side-switch, it will lock the rotation of the screen on Portrait mode. When you turn the iPad to landscape orientation, the screen will not shift to landscape mode.

The moment you turn ON lock rotation by switching the side-switch, you’ll notice this icon on the right side of the status bar. This indicates that the screen-orientation is locked in portrait mode.

Lock Orientation Indicator on iPad

Pre-iOS 7, you could lock the screen-orientation from the task-switcher. Unfortunately, Apple decided to leave out this feature in iOS 7. In the control center of iOS 7, you can only mute/unmute the iPad. So it makes sense to change the behavior of the side-switch to lock screen-orientation.

The side-effect of locking the screen-orientation is that you won’t be able to go into full-screen mode in Safari because that depends on the iPad going into the landscape mode.

Apps that shift to the landscape mode by default are not affected, though.