I’ve had a couple of days to play with iOS 4.2 on my iPad, and I can’t deny that it is by and large an improvement. It’s nice to be able to play Pandora in the background while I read an e-book or browse the web, for example.
Of course, the multitasking isn’t perfect. Sometimes multitasking apps can crash but hang around zombie-like in the background. TCGeeks has advice for how to deal with that problem if it ever happens to you—go to the multitasking display by double-tapping Home, hold your finger down on a program, and hit the “minus” to kill it.
But iOS 4.2 comes with a lot of little tweaks, too. Safari has seen some improvements; most noticeable is that the “view tabs” button now has an indicator of how many tabs are currently open in Safari. And when an app calls another, now the screens change in a way that looks like one card or photo being slid behind another one. I’m sure there are a lot of other little tweaks that I haven’t even consciously noticed.
The big bugaboo of OS 4.2 has been, of course, the change of the screen-lock switch to a “mute” switch, which Jobs said will not be user-configurable. I still hold that it’s hard to see why the iPad should need a switch to turn mute on. After all, traditionally “mute” is a button that can be reversed by turning the volume back up. If you hold down the decrease side of the volume control rocker on the iPad, it mutes very quickly. (Too quickly, in fact. Sometimes I’ve wished to just turn the volume down a little bit but gotten muted instead.)
Predictably, a solution to this problem has arisen from the jailbreaking community. Engadget reports on NoMute, a Cydia app that will allow those who’ve jailbroken to reclaim their orientation lock functionality. I have to admit, it’s starting to become quite tempting to jailbreak this iPad—and jailbreaks are coming faster than ever; whereas it used to take several weeks for jailbreaking to catch up with the new iOS, there were unlocks for 4.2 practically on the day of its release.
Though courts have held it to be legal, at least for the iPhone, you should certainly think twice before jailbreaking, as a lot can go wrong and it can void your Apple warranty. Still, if you really must have that screen lock switch back, now you have a way.