I'm new to the iPhone world, although I've been down iPod lane for a few years. One thing that is well-known (and even parodied) about Apple devices is the slimmed down and minimalist approach.

So it strikes me as odd that there's a dedicated switch on the side, just for silent mode. There's already the control center for many similar 'quick go to' things, which also includes 'do not disturb' (which in turn doesn't seem that different to me).

So what's up with the one-function switch on the side?


The late Mr. Jobs felt it was essential to be able to mute a cell phone without pulling it out of your pocket, and/or in the dark, with minimal light disturbance, without having to hold it up to see it, without being distracting to the reason you are muting the phone in the first place. IIRC, he actually described something to this effect at the original iPhone unveiling 29 June 2007

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    I disagree, what we now call the Mute button was originally the orientation lock, that was used to prevent the screen from moving between portrait and landscape modes, this only changed to the mute function in (I think) iOS4.3, with the settings option to toggle it between Mute and Rotation Lock eventually following – stuffe May 12 '14 at 11:08
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    @stuffe unfortunately, memory is a funny thing. You are exactly wrong:"Can't wait for this to appear on the next iPhone as well!". It was originally a mute switch, and in iPhoneOS4b3 orientation lock was added. Cheers! – chillin May 12 '14 at 11:51
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    Indeed, got it wrong - the iPad did it this way, phone was always Mute tho. – stuffe May 12 '14 at 12:58
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    Okay that does make sense. I will have to use that feature surreptitiously next time while I look around with a displeased face rolling my eyes in agreement with everyone else. – Tom May 12 '14 at 13:07
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    @Tom lmao... obviously you have a little Captain in you. – chillin May 12 '14 at 13:16

In short: The physicial one is a ringer switch which will turn off sounds. The moon (Silent Mode) switch, is to block incoming notifications.


The control center is an iOS7 feature and did not exist before. So yes it had a real purpose before.

Also, a physical button is much faster to access and use than a button that you have to slide to access.

You may also be interested in another answer about the difference between silent mode and the “Do not disturb” option.

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    Isn't that the same answer I linked to? – Tom May 12 '14 at 13:03

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protected by Community Apr 30 '18 at 8:36

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