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?

  • 3
    if you're in Japan or S Korea, I believe there are laws requiring camera phones to have audible shutters.
    – Jason
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 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. Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 12:32
  • Are you in Japan or South Korea?
    – Gerry
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 12:34
  • @Gerry In Japan for the next three years, yeah. Commented Oct 10, 2012 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
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 12:36

2 Answers 2


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.

  • 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! Commented Oct 10, 2012 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
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 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. Commented Oct 10, 2012 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
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 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. Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 23:07

Here’s the official support page.


The frustrating thing is it seems you have to mute the whole phone rather than do something app specific. This might be one of those “Apple simplifications” which come at the cost of full control.

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