Learn to Change the iPad Side Switch's Behavior

Make the Side Switch lock the screen orientation or mute the iPad

Learn to switch your iPad's Switch function

By default, the iPad Side Switch is used to mute the iPad, but that's not its only function. If you'd like, you can change just one setting on your iPad so that when the switch is toggled on, it will instead lock the iPad to landscape or portrait mode.

Locking the orientation of the iPad is great when playing a game or reading a book and the iPad is held at an odd angle. Rather than become increasingly frustrated with the screen constantly changing back and forth between landscape and portrait mode, just lock the position in place with the switch.

On the other hand, maybe you want to make the switch mute the iPad so that it doesn't make sound an unnecessary times.

Note: Not all iPads have this switch capability. See the bottom of this page for more information on that and how to lock the orientation or mute the iPad on those models.

How to Change What the iPad Switch Does

Changing what the Side Switch does on your iPad is as easy as a few taps in the Settings app. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

  1. Open the Settings app to see the iPad's settings. This is a grey icon that looks like a gear.
  2. Choose General from the menu on the left side of the screen.
  3. Scroll down until you reach the section called Use Side Switch To:, and choose either Lock Rotation or Mute.

My iPad Doesn't Have a Side Switch!

Apple's quest to limit the number of hardware buttons on the iPad led them to discontinue this switch with the introduction of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 4. The iPad Pro models also do not have a side switch.

So, how do you lock the orientation or mute the sound on one of these newer iPads? The iPad's hidden Control Center gives you quick access to these functions and others like changing the iPad's volume, skipping to the next song, turning Bluetooth on or off, and accessing the AirDrop and AirPlay features.

  1. Slide your finger up from the very bottom edge of the display. As you move your finger up, Control Center will be revealed.
  2. Tap the Rotation Lock icon to enable or disable the orientation lock feature. It's the one that looks like a small lock with an arrow surrounding it. The screen will lock to whatever position it was in when you turned on Rotation Lock.
    1. Tap the Silent Mode button to mute the iPad. This icon resembles a bell and should go red when it's enabled.