How iOS 5 Can Help Fix Your Broken iPhone Lock Switch

Got an older iPhone with a lock switch that's worn out and not functioning? Lifehacker reader Aaron shares a useful setting in iOS 5 that can save you an expensive repair or upgrade.

Here's Aaron's simple but effective solution:

I've got a work-supplied iPhone 3GS with a broken lock switch — at both extremes of movement it sets to 'unmute', with 'mute' being in the middle somehow, where the switch will not stay put. Rather than bother the IT department when they have more important things to do, I've found a workaround using a setting I didn't know existed before exploring iOS 5. Under Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Triple-Click Home -> check the set to 'AssistiveTouch' option.

AssistiveTouch is an interesting feature on its own, creating a persistent semi-transparent dot on the screen that enables triggering gestures and settings with a one-tap-at-a-time interface. In this case, I'm interested in the 'Device' section of that menu, where I can override the mute/unmute setting regardless of the broken physical switch on the side. And to save digging into the accessibility menu every time I want to toggle it, now I can just triple-click the home button. It's been very helpful, although now I need to find another excuse to get a newer model.

It's a fairly specific fix, but a useful trick to bear in mind. Thanks Aaron!


    Thats great! I'm going to give it a crack. My home button has been crap for ages

    That's great except for me the home button is usually the first to go...

      If the Home button is dead, leave AssistiveTouch turned on and you can replicate it on the touch screen.

    Just started using this because my lock button broke this weekend, thank you so much!! Quick question though - if I want to turn my phone off using AssistiveTouch, how can I turn it back on if my lock button is broken? I have the iPhone 4s if that changes my options at all..

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