Understanding the iPad Sleep/Wake Button

Sleep/Wake button on the iPad


The Sleep/Wake button on the iPad is one of the device's few buttons that has a number of uses past just locking the device or waking it up.

Because this button is used to put the iPad into a suspended mode, the Sleep/Wake button is sometimes referred to as the suspend button or the hold button, but also the lock and power button.

Where Is the iPad's Sleep/Wake Button

It's a small, black button at the top of the iPad. It protrudes only slightly from the edge of the device; just enough to feel when you're not looking right at, but not too far so as to catch it on something or have it be a bother when using the iPad.

What the Sleep/Wake Button Does When the iPad Is On

With the iPad powered on and viewing the lock screen, pressing the Wake/Sleep button once will wake the iPad up to the point that you can see the lock screen, like the clock and any notifications that are set up to display there. It's at this point that you can get on the iPad, either after a passcode or by sliding to unlock.

If using a powered on iPad that's viewing the home screen, pressing this button just once will blacken the screen, locking it and sending you back to square one, where hitting it again will show you the lock screen. This is usually performed when you're done with the iPad and want to put it into sleep mode.

Holding down the lock button for a few seconds, whether the iPad is on the lock screen or home screen, will ask you if you want to shut off the device. This is essentially how you reboot an iPad; is to turn it off and back on.

Taking a screenshot on an iPad uses the lock button too. Tap this button and the Home button at the same time, just briefly (don't hold them), so that the screen will flash to indicate that it took a picture of whatever was displayed on the screen. The image is saved in the Photos app.

What the Sleep/Wake Button Does When the iPad Is Off

Pressing the Wake/Sleep button one time when the iPad is off will do nothing. It needs to be held down for a few seconds, after which it will serve as a way to turn on the iPad.

What the Sleep/Wake Button Does When the iPad Is On or Off

Similar to a screenshot, you can hold down the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button simultaneously to do what's called a hard reboot. Do this when the iPad is completely frozen and the power down screen doesn't appear when holding the button down, or when you can't turn on the iPad.

Keep both buttons pressed down for fifteen to twenty seconds to perform this type of reboot.

How to Sleep the iPad Without Using the Button

The iPad will automatically go into suspend mode after a certain amount of time has passed without any activity. This auto-lock feature is set to just a few minutes by default, but it can be changed.

There are also "smart" cases for the iPad that automatically wake it when the case is opened and suspend it when closed.

Ensuring the iPad is properly suspended when not in use is a great way to save battery life.