IPod Touch 3rd Gen Screen Lock Backlight Issue

There are two functions that the 3rd generation Apple iPod Touch Screen Lock feature provides in version 5.1.1 of iOS:

  1. Input disabled.  When the screen locks, further touch screen input is not accepted until you unlock it.
  2. Backlight extinguished.  Also, there’s a power-saving feature incorporated into this lock mechanism.  After the screen locks and goes into screen-saver mode, the back light shuts off after a short time, to conserve battery power.

The problem here is that in order to utilize this complete-screen-shut-off power-saving feature, the screen must have locked first.  Thus, in order to access the iPod controls again, you must first unlock the screen, which requires an extra flick of the finger across the touch surface and entry of a pass code if you’ve set one up.  While you can disable the screen locking function altogether to assure the quickest access possible to the screen controls, this means that since the above two functions are married in the Touch, you also must disable screen power management.  If the screen does not lock, the backlight stays on for the entire time that the iPod is being used.

But I’d prefer the screen not have to become locked in order for the power management functions to kick in. Since I keep no sensitive data on my iPod Touch, I really have no need for the screen lock feature, and so, would prefer not to use it.  Yet in order to benefit from  the timed screen back light turn off, I must use screen lock.  That is, I cannot have the screen turn off automatically unless I also have it lock automatically.

So, Apple would do well to separate the screen locking and power saving functions, just as they are on a personal computer.  That is, the iPod Touch backlight could be set turn off after a configurable time, without the screen locking along with it, and completely independently of the screen locking.  This would save finger action because  all I would have to do to power on the backlight once again, would be to touch the screen once. I would not also have to move the on-screen unlock slider as well.  The additional screen slider step should not be required to again gain access to the Touch.  Power saving and screen locking would be entirely independent functions ideally.

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Revision History

  • 2015-12-10: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-01-02: Tweaked the content.
  • 2012-08-22: Originally published.