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We got an iPad not long ago, and I noticed that the so-called "Mute" switch doesn't mute the sound for all apps. I am aware of the iPhone mute switch dilemma, but what exactly does the mute switch on the iPad do? Is it like the iPhone's mute switch or is it different?

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The iPad mute switch is identical to the iPhone's mute switch except it can't control a ringer/vibration choice. Other than that, it's effect in-app will be identical.

  1. Not all apps respect the 'mute' switch. Apps that have no purpose EXCEPT to be listened to (music apps, youtube, etc.) will not be any different in either switched mode.

  2. Frequently, games or other apps with "ambient music" will silence the music and often the sound effects as well when the switch is set to mute.

It is due to this inconsistency that I choose to set the switch to control orientation lock, and just use the volume controls as needed.

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One of my pet peeves however is that notification sounds are not muted when turning the volume all the way down, and only when really muting the device :) Whatever you configure the physical button for though, you can still access the second functionality by double-clicking home and swiping to the media controls. – Gerry Mar 15 '12 at 10:25
up vote 2 down vote accepted

From Apple's KB article on the iPad's side switch:

  • When you mute your iPad, only certain sounds are muted.

  • Sounds such as alerts, notifications, sound effects, and game audio are muted. Media playback (such as music, podcasts, movies, videos, and TV shows) are not muted.

So, that would explain why background music/videos aren't muted when I'm using our iPad.

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One of the main reasons why I use the mute button is to effectively turn-off the sounds made by notifications. It's handy because you don't have to manually go into Settings and mute the specific notifications for the apps, however the main drawback to using the mute button is that it mutes everything so you won't be able to hear all of the notifications when using it as opposed to manually selecting which notifications to mute in settings.

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