How to silence your iPhone or iPad

How to silence your iPhone or iPad
Mac Tip #377, 25 March 2009

Stop searching the Settings for how to mute your iPhone or iPad — the hardware button is quick and easy.

Several people recently have told me how long it took them to figure out how to silence their iPhone, so this Tip aims to save you some time.

Set up the Mute button

Older versions of the iOS had a special Mute button on the side at top left of the device. Then one version of iOS changed it to a Rotate Lock button. After much outcry Apple gave us the option to choose whether the button would act as a Rotate Lock or Mute. Check the Settings and make sure it acts in the way you prefer.

  1. On your iOS device tap Settings to open the Settings preferences.
  2. Tap General to open the General settings.
  3. Scroll down to the section labelled Use Side Switch to:.
  4. Tap either Lock Rotation or Mute to set the action for the side button on your device. This Tip assumes you’ve set it to Mute.

About the hardware buttons

iPhone ringer icons, against a background of the BubbleWrap game.

iPhone ringer icons, against a background of the BubbleWrap game. Images: left: iPhone ringer volume setting; right: iPhone ringer silenced. The blue background is the BubbleWrap game.

Much of what we do on an iPhone uses the touch screen: tap an icon, choose a setting.

But the volume on the iPhone and iPad is easily and quickly controlled by hardware buttons. Look on the left edge of the iPhone (as it faces you). You see a few silver buttons. On the iPad the buttons are black.

The silver buttons on the left side of the iPhone control volume.

The silver buttons on the left side of the iPhone control volume.

The long lower button controls volume. On newer iPhones there are two separate volume buttons.

Press the lower part to reduce volume and the upper part to increase volume. When you do that a square black icon appears on screen. It shows a standard ‘volume’ icon and a number of dots below it. The dots indicate how loud the volume is set to.

Press and hold Volume Down

One press of a Volume Up or Down button changes the volume by a small increment. Press and hold the Volume Down button to quickly silence the device.

Quickly mute an iOS device

To silence your iPhone or iPad even more quickly move the silver or black button at top left towards the back of the iPhone. The device buzzes briefly and displays a square black icon showing a bell with a line through it. This indicates that the ringer is off.

To turn the sound back on move the Mute button towards the face of the device. The square ‘bell’ icon appears again, this time without the line through it.

Do you have any other tips for working with volume on your iPhone? Share them in the Comments.

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  1. Heather said:

    Thank you so much. Cant beleive i couldnt figure it out. thanks

  2. Leeann said:

    You know it actually took a month for me to find I could silence a call on my 3G iPhone simply by pushing the on off button! How bad is that!?

  3. Tiffany said:

    Thank you for this tip! I couldn’t figure out this simple thing.

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