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It used to be that I was able to use the lock switch on my iPhone to mute all alerts and sounds (with the exception of any music, video, etc.); and this included the camera's shutter noise. Then when I went to set the switch to the un-mute setting, I could get the camera's shutter noise back.

This was especially useful when I needed to inconspicuously take photographs.

It seems now, though—perhaps even as early as iOS 5.1, I can't recall—the camera noise goes off each time I take a photo, regardless of other mute settings.

And I've already toggling the Settings » Change with Buttons setting, it has no effect.

Is there some sort of hidden option I've lost track of to let me regain this functionality?

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if you're in Japan or S Korea, I believe there are laws requiring camera phones to have audible shutters. –  Jason Oct 10 '12 at 12:28
    
Now THAT... is interesting. And Google definitely seems to corroborate's that. Mind making it an answer so I can +1/accept it? Seems like some good stuff to know. –  Terrance Shaw Oct 10 '12 at 12:32
    
Are you in Japan or South Korea? –  Gerry Oct 10 '12 at 12:34
    
@Gerry In Japan for the next three years, yeah. –  Terrance Shaw Oct 10 '12 at 12:35
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Ok, because for the record my iPhone does not show the same behavior :) It seems iOS is taking into account the location in some way. –  Gerry Oct 10 '12 at 12:36
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Some countries (notably Japan and South Korea) have laws requiring camera phones to make audible shutter sounds.

I can't find a definitive reference for this (at least not one in English), but there are many second-hand references if you Google.

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Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Would've never thought it to be a localized issue like that, but sure enough, Google does in fact agree with the sentiment. Thank you very much! –  Terrance Shaw Oct 10 '12 at 12:38
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I'd love to know if iOS determines this behavior by (GPS) location, or if this is hardcoded for units sold in countries with such legislation in place. –  Gerry Oct 10 '12 at 12:41
    
@Gerry The 4S I use here is from the local au/KDDI carrier. I've still got my 4S from Verizon at home, so when I'm done for the day I'll check it out and report back. –  Terrance Shaw Oct 10 '12 at 12:43
    
@Gerry May be that this mechanism is activated when the phone sees a Japanese cell tower. I hear similar things happen in countries where a phone must not have a working GPS receiver (e.g. Egypt). I'll see to find the source for that. –  myhd Oct 10 '12 at 22:33
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As I don't have connectivity with the Verizon 4S, myhd may be correct. As it stands, though, it was able to be muted without connectivity. So it could also be something to do with the installed carrier settings. –  Terrance Shaw Oct 10 '12 at 23:07
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