A few of the hundreds of "new" features in iOS 5 were "appropriated" from other developers. One, the ability to trip the iPhone camera shutter by pressing the Volume Up button instead of pressing a soft-button on-screen, came from a hidden feature that iOS developer tap tap tap included in a version of Camera+, an iPhone camera replacement app.


As an added bonus, if you press the Volume Up button on the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic that comes with every iPhone that will trip the shutter as well.

It's a pretty clever trick, and for those who use the iPhone to take pictures -- of which there are many (see below) -- it might come in handy. Combine the iPhone and headphone remote with a simple tripod/stand like the Glif, and you've got a cheap-and-functional camera rig.

camerapopularityflickr

Hat tip to Cult of Mac, and Charles for the video.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Westacular Avatar
168 months ago
A few of the hundreds of "new" features in iOS 5 were "appropriated (http://www.9to5mac.com/71850/ios-features-apple-borrowed-from-jailbreakers/)" from other developers. One, the ability to trip the iPhone camera shutter by pressing the Volume Up button instead of pressing a soft-button on-screen, came from a hidden feature (http://www.tuaw.com/2010/08/10/how-to-use-your-iphones-volume-buttons-for-shutter-control-in-c/) that iOS developer tap tap tap (http://taptaptap.com/) included in a version of Camera+ (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id329670577), an iPhone camera replacement app.

What's with the attitude from MacRumors all of a sudden regarding iOS 5 features? Both this and the Wi-Fi sync article had very unprofessional tones, and the accusations that Apple plagiarized from developers seems particularly unjustified in both these cases.

Phones have been using volume buttons as shutter releases for a decade. It was never really that novel; tap tap tap was just the only developer ballsy enough to sneak it into an app, and they were punished for it.


So why did Apple ban the functionality in the first place?

With iOS devices, the rationale has always been that an app gets full and exclusive control of what's happening on the screen, and any touch events, while hardware buttons are the sole domain of the operating system. Any app that tried to use a hardware button for a non-standard purpose was rejected on principle -- Apple didn't want to allow for the consequential possibility of user confusion, etc. Home button is for home, Volume buttons control volume, period, no exceptions.

Generally, it seemed like a sound policy, but taking photos is one of the few exceptions where a physical button would be really handy, and the volume buttons are in just the right spot to do it.

In July or August of 2010, tap tap tap proudly talked about adding that feature, and submitted a new version of Camera+ which included it (among other things). It was rejected by reviewers, based on the above policy.

So, tap tap tap said "ok" and resubmitted a version with that 'removed'. But what they'd really done is disabled the feature and added a hidden cheat code that would turn it feature. Knowledge of this went viral. Apple was not pleased at being tricked, and the banhammer came down: Camera+ was pulled from the app store, and tap tap tap went almost entirely silent for 4 months -- no blog posts, no updates to other apps, nothing. One might speculate Apple put them in the time out corner to think about what they did.

Then, in December, tap tap tap suddenly came back to life and released a brand new 2.0 version of Camera+, with lots of new features (and no presence or mention of the ill-fated volume-button-shutter feature, or discussion of the long absence).


Now, as to why Apple seems to have had a change of heart on this issue, there's a couple things to note:

-As mentioned in the keynote, over the past year since the iPhone 4's release, it's become abundantly clear how much serious photography is being done using iPhones. And tapping the on-screen button to take the photo is extremely awkward/clumsy in a wide variety of scenarios. Apple finally realized this point. (Or rather, the people inside Apple who were probably arguing for something like this all along were finally able to garner enough support or evidence to justify the change.)

-The boundaries of that split between "apps own the screen" and "iOS owns the buttons" are visibly eroding from the other side, especially in light of other iOS 5 features: Notification Center is adding a system-wide gesture, and frequent little notes on the top of the screen, and the 4-5 finger multitasking gestures are finally becoming an official preference option on the iPad. This is on top of the growing rainbow of multitasking items that add another line to the status bar (and steal taps to the area), such as phone calls, voice recording, VoIP calls, and Wi-Fi tethering.

Clearly, Apple is less beholden to that principle now than it was a year ago. I've not yet heard if they intend to allow 3rd party camera apps to also use the volume as a shutter button, but I don't see why they wouldn't. *Not* allowing it would *reduce* platform consistency.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3rdparty Avatar
168 months ago
A little known existing feature of iOS4 is that the remote button starts/stops video recording...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AdeFowler Avatar
168 months ago
What's with the attitude from MacRumors all of a sudden regarding iOS 5 features?

I sensed the same attitude during MacRumor's WWDC Live Feed; at times it bordered on immature.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
houdinize Avatar
168 months ago
I wonder if this means that other apps (like Camera+) will be able to access this and use the volume button and remote as the shutter within their app? I would think and hope so.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Compile 'em all Avatar
168 months ago
So why did Apple ban the functionality in the first place?

They didn't ban anything. They simply felt that an "app" that "some might have and some might not" shouldn't define hardware behavior. And well, a new feature should be released in an all new feature release.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
spillproof Avatar
168 months ago
A little known existing feature of iOS4 is that the remote button starts/stops video recording...
And I was always annoyed that it didn't work for photos. Now I don't have to be!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
top stories 13apr2024

Top Stories: M4 Mac Roadmap Leaked, New iPads in Second Week of May, and More

Saturday April 13, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's hardware roadmap was in the news this week, with things hopefully firming up for a launch of updated iPad Pro and iPad Air models next month while we look ahead to the other iPad models and a full lineup of M4-based Macs arriving starting later this year. We also heard some fresh rumors about iOS 18, due to be unveiled at WWDC in a couple of months, while we took a look at how things ...
iGBA Feature

Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

Sunday April 14, 2024 8:06 am PDT by
A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts. It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that...
new best buy blue

Best Buy Opens Up Sitewide Sale With Record Low Prices on M3 MacBook Air, iPad, and Much More

Saturday April 13, 2024 7:41 am PDT by
Best Buy this weekend has a big sale on Apple MacBooks and iPads, including new all-time low prices on the M3 MacBook Air, alongside the best prices we've ever seen on MacBook Pro, iPad, and more. Some of these deals require a My Best Buy Plus or My Best Buy Total membership, which start at $49.99/year. In addition to exclusive access to select discounts, you'll get free 2-day shipping, an...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Colors

iPhone 16 Plus Rumored to Come in These 7 Colors

Wednesday April 10, 2024 3:52 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 16 Plus may come in seven colors that either build upon the existing five colors in the standard iPhone 15 lineup or recast them in a new finish, based on a new rumor out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker Fixed focus digital, Apple's upcoming larger 6.7-inch iPhone 16 Plus model will come in the following colors, compared to the colors currently available for the...
apple silicon feature joeblue

Macs to Get AI-Focused M4 Chips Starting in Late 2024

Thursday April 11, 2024 10:10 am PDT by
Apple will begin updating its Mac lineup with M4 chips in late 2024, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The M4 chip will be focused on improving performance for artificial intelligence capabilities. Last year, Apple introduced the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips all at once in October, so it's possible we could see the M4 lineup come during the same time frame. Gurman says that the entire...