What to Expect: iOS 4.2 on the iPad

Now that iOS 4.2 is available to the public I thought it pertinent to fill you in on an iPad running iOS 4.2 (I have been using the betas since they came out). This is a rather quick look at some of the things I like, for an in depth look I recommend looking here.

There are two immediate things that most every one should take note of and one major annoyance that will surely give you some troubles.
What you will love:

  • Multi-tasking.
  • Folders
  • Unified Inbox

What will drive you crazy:

  • The lack of an orientation lock switch.


This is what most people are going to care about – I have some bad news, unless the App is already setup for multi-tasking it will be painfully obvious that it isn’t. During the beta period the only apps that worked properly for multi-tasking were the ones that were universal and had an iPhone counterpart that was already multi-tasking ready. Except for Twitter’s app – that was a horrendous problem.

Other than that multi-tasking works as expected, double tap the home button to switch apps. Though exiting the app and launching another works the same as a double tap, it just adds a few steps.

I have found that I use my iPad for a lot more ‘switching’ than I do my iPhone so multi-tasking is a welcome addition. We will have to wait for some iOS devs to get their apps updated, but my guess is that most will be done before Thanksgiving (U.S.).


Ah yes, folders are in my opinion the best addition that iOS 4.2 brings. The larger screen size that the iPad holds over the iPhone makes flipping through pages of apps tedious. Folders help reduce the number of pages, and in my case I went from 5 to 2 pages. I love folders, all you need to do is drag an app icon on top of another and iOS will create the folder.

Better yet, use iTunes to organize all your apps as you can do it much quicker there.

Unified Inbox

Still to this day I do not understand why a unified inbox was not a part of iOS from the beginning. That said it is finally a part of the iPad in iOS 4.2 and it is a very welcome addition to the OS. Basically you get to see all of your emails in one inbox at the same time – yay.

One thing that I would like to see disappear is the fact that you have the options for ‘all inboxes’ and a single inbox for each account, in addition to another list for each account, where you can click and then see the inbox for that account yet again. The listing of just the individual account inbox tabs seems a little cumbersome and cluttering to me.

Orientation Lock

What used to be the orientation lock switch is now a mute switch just like on the iPhone. This is extremely annoying and should not have happened. You will see why soon enough.

You can still lock the screen orientation you just need to double tap the home button and swipe your finger to the right to reveal the software switch. Really cumbersome. The iPad is less an audio device that it is a reading device, orientation is greater than audio on the iPad. Add to that the volume rocker which already quickly mutes the device if you just hold it down.


iOS 4.2 is yet another great upgrade – don’t hesitate to do it. In fact go upgrade now. Apple also announced that find my iOS device is now free, set it up and use it. What a great feature to make free.

Originally posted for members on: November 22, 2010
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