Affinity Consulting Blog

This may be categorized under TMI (too much information), but my story may stop you from being sanctioned in court. First, some background. I have a virtual appellate practice. I work in various place, including at home. I am currently using an iPhone (a hand-me-down from my grandson) because my beloved Galaxy Note II took a coffee bath and did not survive. I have a new Android phone ordered (Moto X), but for now I am an iPhone user. I also have and love my iPad (4th Gen with Verizon 4G).

Last Friday, early in the morning while my iPhone was still connected to its charger on my nightstand, I was in the "library" reading blog posts and catching up on email when I heard my iPhone ring. Then, to my complete shock, my iPad started to ring. I could see that it was my daughter calling from graduate school with a tech question (she is a Mac user and needed to find a program that let her read IBM statistics files). I was able to answer the call on my iPad and communicate with her using the iPad's mic and speaker. A headset (wired or Bluetooth) would also have worked.

This was amazing! I'd already upgraded both the iPhone and iPad to iOS 8 and this capability is a feature of the new operating system. However, as pointed out by Jeff Richardson of the wonderful iPhone J.D. blog, this feature can get you in trouble in court. We are used to silencing our phones before entering a courtroom. But many of us also use our iPad's in court. We don't think to silence our iPads because, before iOS 8, they didn't ring. Now they do.

This feature is part of Continuity is Handoff, a technology that lets you pass documents from one device to another. You can start an email on your iPhone, but then decide to complete it on the iPad. You can use Handoff with Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders Calendar, Contacts and even some third party apps. Another Continuity feature is that you can answer your iPhone from an iPad or a Mac (once the new Mac OS X version is released). You can make a call from your iPad by tapping on the phone icon next to a phone number in the Contacts app. Your iPad becomes an extension of your iPhone.

The problem is that even if you flip the iPhone's side switch to silent, your iPad will ring with each incoming phone call. This could be a disaster in court. Jeff Richardson provides the following instructions to avoid this problem:

Here are two ways to stop this from happening to you. First, you can turn off this feature of Continuity completely, although it is not very obvious how you do so. Go to the Settings app on your iPhone, but don't go to Phone, where you might expect this to be located, but instead go to FaceTime. Then turn off iPhone Cellular Calls.

Alternatively, you can keep the feature enabled on your iPhone, but go to the Settings app on your iPad, tap FaceTime, and turn off iPhone Cellular Calls just on your iPad. That way, you can use the feature with your iPhone and your Mac, but not with that iPad.

A second solution is to keep the feature enabled, but remember to mute your iPad at the same time that you mute your iPhone. You may be able to mute your iPad simply by flipping the switch on the side of your iPad, just like you can on the iPhone. But note that you can control in settings whether the switch on the iPad acts as a mute switch or locks the rotation. I keep my switch set on Lock Rotation, so I cannot use the switch to mute my iPad.

But there is another way to mute, even if the switch is used to lock rotation. If you swipe up from the bottom of your screen to bring up the Control Center, there is a row of five icons in the middle, starting with Airplane Mode. If the physical switch on your iPad is being used for the lock rotation function, then the last of those five icons will let you quickly turn mute on or off. (If your physical switch is being used for mute, then that fifth icon toggles the lock rotation function.) Note that you can mute your iPad from the lock screen; you don't have to be actually using your iPad to mute it.

Two final notes. First, note that Continuity only works for phone calls if your iPhone and iPad are on the same WiFi network. If you are in a meeting, court, etc. and your devices are not connected to WiFi, then you won't have to worry about your iPad ringing unexpectedly, even if you forgot to mute it. But remember that iOS devices remember WiFi networks, so after you connect to WiFi the first time in a location, your iPad might do it automatically in the future without you even realizing that it happened.

Second, be aware that if you have an older iPad in your house that you are no longer using yourself — perhaps it has become an iPad for your kids — and if that iPad is also using your same Apple ID, that iPad will ring as well unless you go to the Settings app and disable iPhone Cellular Calls on that iPad. Last thing that you want is for your six-year-old to answer a call that was intended for you.

This is a cool new feature (not cool enough for me to stick with an iPhone long term, but that is a purely personal preference and not a knock against the iPhone). But there is a "gotcha." Make sure you are prepared and have your iPad silenced as well as your iPhone using any of the methods suggested by Jeff Richardson before you walk into a courtroom or meeting where ringing would be rude, or worse, sanctionable.

Let's Get Started Today

with a plan that's right for your practice.

Let Us Teach You

Take advantage of our blog resources, sign up for our law office technology white papers, take a course from Affinity University, Attend all of our Live Events.

Start Now

Hire Us To Do It For You

Hire Affinity Consulting Group to make your law office run more efficiently than ever… We can deliver the hardware, the software, and the training that is perfect to make your law office more efficient.

Start Now

Work With Us

We can give you expert guidance, helping you make smart choices for your law firm. We can help you analyze your current situation and make suggestions that will point you in the right direction.

Start Now

Sign up for our newsletter and

keep your law office efficient.

Join over 4,000 successful law firms who receive our newsletter today.


Read Our Previous Newsletters