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.

Top Rated Comments

Westacular Avatar
132 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
132 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
132 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
132 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
132 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
132 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)

Top Stories

Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature

Unreleased Apple Macs and Apple Watches Listed in Eurasian Database Ahead of Fall Product Launches

Monday August 2, 2021 9:34 am PDT by
Apple is preparing for a slew of fall product launches according to new filings that showed up today in the Eurasian Economic Commission database. There are listings for new Mac and Apple Watch models, all of which have previously unknown model identifiers that indicate that they're upcoming devices. There are six new Apple Watch identifiers, including A2473, A2474, A2475, A2476, A2477, and...
ifixit iphone12 mini

Apple to Make Space for Larger Batteries in iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks By Adopting Slimmer Peripheral Chips

Monday August 2, 2021 2:12 am PDT by
For future iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, Apple plans to use smaller internal components in an effort to increase the size of the device's battery, according to DigiTimes. Image Credit: iFixit Specifically, Apple plans to "significantly increase the adoption" of IPDs or integrated passive devices for the peripheral chips in its products. These news chips will be slimmer in size and allow for...
Apple Watch 7 Unreleased Feature

Apple Watch Series 7 to Focus on One Major Upgrade

Wednesday August 4, 2021 2:12 am PDT by
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 will focus on one important feature in an attempt to tempt existing Apple Watch users that have an older device to upgrade, according to recent reports. Apple may skip adding new health sensors to this year's Apple Watch Series 7 in favor of improving the device's battery life. The company is said to be adopting new double-sided System in Package (SiP)...
magic keyboard touch id

Apple Makes Magic Keyboard With Touch ID Available for Separate Purchase

Tuesday August 3, 2021 5:22 am PDT by
Apple has made the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, which previously was only available with the purchase of the new 24-inch iMac, available for purchase individually for $149. Apple also retails the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and a numeric keypad for $179. A standard Magic Keyboard without Touch ID or a numeric keypad is available for $99, and a new Magic Trackpad for $129. One major...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...
applestoredown

Apple's Online Store Temporarily Down [Update: Back Up]

Tuesday August 3, 2021 4:01 pm PDT by
Apple's online Apple Store is down at the current time, and attempting to access it to make a purchase gives the standard "Be Right Back" message. Given that it's a Tuesday night/afternoon in the United States and we're not expecting any new products this week, it's likely that this is a temporary maintenance outage that is not related to a new product release. The Apple Store app is also...
themorningshowcarrell

Apple Decided Not to Buy Reese Witherspoon's 'Hello Sunshine' Media Company

Monday August 2, 2021 2:02 pm PDT by
Reese Witherspoon's media company "Hello Sunshine" recently courted various buyers, and while Apple was one of parties interested in buying Hello Sunshine, the Cupertino company did not end up going through with the purchase. Hello Sunshine was valued at around $900 million thanks to its involvement in popular series like The Morning Show," "Big Little Lies," and "Little Fires Everywhere,"...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Apple Brings China's Luxshare Precision into iPhone 13 Supply Chain to Meet Production Targets

Wednesday August 4, 2021 12:19 am PDT by
Apple is tapping more Chinese suppliers as it seeks to meet ambitious targets for iPhone 13 production, according to a new report by Nikkei Asia. Apple is set to produce between 90 million and 95 million iPhones through January, according to a previous Nikkei report, and China's Luxshare Precision Industry has won 3% of orders away from Taiwanese rivals Foxconn and Pegatron. Luxshare will...
mac pro new graphics

Apple Introduces New High-End Graphics Options for Mac Pro

Tuesday August 3, 2021 7:34 am PDT by
Apple today began offering new high-end graphics upgrade options for both the tower and rack versions of the Mac Pro desktop computer. This comes on the same day that Apple started selling the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID on a standalone basis. As noted by CNN Underscored's Jake Krol, the Mac Pro can now be configured with new AMD Radeon Pro W6800X, W6800X Duo, or W6900X graphics when...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...