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Mutator silences your iPhone, no exceptions


June 5, 2013

Mutator is a simple headphone jack topper that silences your iOS device with a simple twist

Mutator is a simple headphone jack topper that silences your iOS device with a simple twist

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Smartphones can be hard to shut up, which is where the ominously named Mutator enters the equation. Designed for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, Mutator is a pyramid-shaped switch that plugs into the headphone jack to make muting simple.

The Mutator sits in the headphone socket permanently and is activated by a 90-degree twist. In the Off position it does absolutely nothing, allowing you to use your iOS device as usual, but twist it into the On position and it mutes all sounds coming from the device apart from alarms you have set manually.

The iOS devices mentioned previously already have a type of mute button known as the "Ring/Silent" switch, but this only blocks certain sounds such as the ringer. Other sounds, including those emanating from Siri, text messages, video, music, apps, mail alerts, and the camera, will still be audible. Which is risky when you're in an environment where a smartphone sound could cause considerable embarrassment. Mutator solves this problem by muting almost everything.

Mutator creator, Ron Adair from Salt Lake City, Utah, is seeking to bring the product to market with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. Funds raised will be used to create production-level prototypes, buy tooling and assembly equipment and design the packaging. One Mutator costs US$16, with $8 extra required for shipping outside the US.

Aldair explains the thinking behind Mutator in the following video.

Source: Mutator on Kickstarter

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix. All articles by Dave Parrack

Is it just me that thinks it's ridiculous that there is no native silent feature? The company that provides such a feature poor phone gets rewarded by the public to the point it becomes the richest company in human history. Why can I not replace the battery on an iPhone? Why can I not add additional memory? Why can I not Swype? Why can I not watch flash animations/video? Why must it only communicate with my files through iTunes? Why doesn't it play all the video/music formats? I am at a complete loss as to why they are so popular when they are the least interoperatable and most expensive. What is it? Can somebody please explain?


-> Australian:

Why can I not replace the battery on an iPhone? I CAN.

Why can I not Swype? I CAN.

Why can I not watch flash animations/video? I CAN

Why must it only communicate with my files through iTunes? NOT TRUE.

Why doesn't it play all the video/music formats? IT CAN.

A question for ya - do you really have an iPhone? Seems not.


It's not just you, and I do find that ridiculous too. Your critique of apple products is on point, Australian. Several writers on Gizmag seem to worship apple, and so do millions of people. Apparently vague notions of 'good feeling' and 'creativity' make up for severe drop backs in performance, interoperability, and most blatantly - a far more reasonable price. The smart phone industry is the most decisive example of this.

I suspect that the reason that they are so popular has to do with the status that owning an apple product earns people, both older and younger.


It's quite simple really, Apple Marketing dept was smarter than their average customer.

Russell Vonthien

US$16 for a 0.75$ peace? I don't think so...

Fábio Dias

Wait....The iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch already has a silence feature, it's called the toggle switch above the volume control. Why do people keep making solutions to problems that don't exsist.

"Other sounds, including those emanating from Siri, text messages, video, music, apps, mail alerts, and the camera, will still be audible"....Umm...Not true. When I mute my iPhone using the ring/silence switch, it mutes all noises exept alarms. This is a $16 snake oil device.


I don't own and have never used any Apple products save a friend's Mac desk top a couple of times while doing a web search or two. Apple operates from a "know best" 'tude with their products. "We know what you really need and we're going to give it to you regardless of whether you may want it or not". And that's why Apple never got even a measly 10 percent market share in the world of personal computers. IBM said "Here's the basics of how to do it, the rest is a wide open field, have fun with it" and that's why PCs had over 95 percent market share for many years. And yes, their marketing department must be way smarter than the average person because they somewhat get away with stuff like that.


Expanded Viewpoint

Russell nailed it, thanks!

Tailorbird: your answers are somewhat misleading. They tend to require beyond-the-norm knowledge, access, limitations, and/or jailbreaking.

I remember mentioning the security of my Palm Treo's hardware switch to silence the phone to an Apple Senior Scientist ... he didn't believe me that the iPhone couldn't be silenced, even when I told him the "switch" was really a only "hi, please try to be somewhat quiet" flag. I've noticed that people working at Apple tend to have a greatly distorted view of their own products ... perhaps a result of the famous "reality distortion field" Steve Jobs was said to have :)

That said, the Mutator seems like a clever workaround to the problem. I'd like a more positive tactile clue as to the on/off position of the device, so I could reach down and confirm that it's in the "sound off" position.

Stan Sieler

@Australian - The same thing that keeps Microsoft Windows on life support despite its issues. It is a unified development platform so lots and lots of developers make lots of interesting/cool/useful programs for it. Add early entry to market and you have a formula for success.

The other Mobile OS versions tend to be overlooked by neat gadget hardware due to the vast array of proprietary hardware they run on. In other words every company that makes an "Android" phone uses hardware including ports and interfaces that are unique to that company and frequently that device. This makes it very impractical for developers to test and troubleshoot software and hardware as instead of buying one device they wind up buying a hundred or more just to ensure compatibility. Hardware also suffers from the proprietary ports/interfaces issue in that any hardware a company made as a functional accessory would be limited to the market share that particular phone has gleaned.


cant you do the same thing with a broken headphone jack when you plug it in?

Rico Lumantas

Rico Lumantas

No kidding. But you would be missing out on paying $16 to have this niffty device poking into the side of your leg all day. Like I said earlier, this is a device that fixes a problem that doesn't exist.


@ Rico Lumantas Jr..... Ding ding ding, we've got a winner. This is exactly what I was going to post...


@ Rico Lumantas Jr. and mr_harder - I've been doing this for years. Maybe ten years ago I also did this with my PC because I would turn on the PC in a meeting and not remember if the sound was on. If you want to make a "fancy" one you can go to an electronics store like Fry's or Radio Shack and get a bare-bones connector for modifying into a "mutator". I've been wondering when someone would come up with this.


Wow. What a surprise. An iPhone article attracting Apple haters. I have never once been in any meeting or gathering of any kind that has been interrupted by an iPhone sound. BUT: I have been in many meetings where some 'android' user fumbles with his phone unable to turn off the obnoxious pop song ringtone. That has happened so many times now it's a joke.

JD Power regularly polls smartphone users. Guess which phone has come out top 9 times on a row? The iPhone.


@ Neil: The majority of responses here critique the mutator, not the Iphone. More importantly, personal experience and popularity don't tell us much about functionality or quality. Specs on paper might.

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