iOS Orientation Lock

If you think your iPad or iPhone is stuck in either portrait or landscape mode, it is probably because you have turned on orientation lock. Learn how to switch it off and why you may want to use it occasionally.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: iOS Orientation Lock.

Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's talk about the orientation switch on your iPad or iPhone and why you may think your device is stuck in either horizontal or vertical mode.

So this is a question I get asked pretty often. Somebody says that either their iPhone or iPad will no longer switch between vertical and horizontal mode or orientation and they think perhaps something is wrong.

What has happened in fact is they accidentally turned on Orientation Lock.

Here I'm looking at my iPhone 6+ and I'm looking at it in vertical orientation. If I wanted to switch to horizontal orientation it would look like this. So you can see if I got stuck in one of these two modes that it didn't switch anymore as I moved the device physically I would be a little concerned.

Now note that the Home screen on older iPhones, smaller screen iPhones, do not switch to horizontal orientation but other apps like games and, of course, Safari and Mail they do switch. So, for instance, if you are using an iPhone 5S you will notice it doesn't switch to horizontal mode at all on the Home screen whereas the iPhone 6+ does and it does on the iPad as well.

So what most people don't realize is they probably inadvertently turned on the Orientation Lock.

The Orientation Lock is a simple setting that allows you to keep your iPhone or iPad in either vertical mode or horizontal mode not matter how you turn it physically.

So to turn it on, and likewise turn it off, you want to bring up Control Center which means you swipe up from beyond the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center. You can see the Orientation Lock at the upper right. It is the little padlock with the circle arrow around it.

If I tap it to go on, you can see it tells me Portrait Orientation Lock is on. Likewise if I were already in horizontal mode and I were to turn it on then it would say Horizontal Orientation Lock is on. Either way it is going to keep the orientation of the moment when you turned on Orientation Lock. Now no matter how you turn your iPhone, or what you do, it is always going to stay in this orientation.

This is very useful say if you want to read or play a game while you are reclining or lying down in bed. Or perhaps you very often put your iPhone or iPad down on a flat table and find that you are always using one orientation or another and don't want to be bothered with lifting it up and physically moving it to the right orientation.

So it is useful but a lot of people don't realize when they turn it on. You see nothing really happened to the screen. It stayed the same. It is just that little indicator there. So may have accidentally turned it on, not realized it, and then all of a sudden, minutes, hours, or days later you notice you can't switch the orientation. Just go and check your Orientation Lock here and turn it off to be able to go and switch again between vertical and horizontal mode.

Now one thing to note. If you are using an older iPad, not the current iPad Air2 but something older, you've got a side switch. The side switch, by default, is the Mute switch. However, you can go into Settings and change that to be the Orientation Lock switch.

Now you may have inadvertently done that while playing around and then it is even easier to accidentally turn Orientation Lock on or off. So if this is set so the side switch is the Orientation Lock switch then bringing up Control Center is simple going to show the Mute switch in place of the Orientation Lock. So it kind of toggles between the two of them.

So this is another place to check if you are having trouble locating the Orientation Lock switch on the Control Center on an older iPad.

Now if you have an iPad Air2 that does not have a side switch then you will actually see both the Orientation Lock and the Mute button in the Control Center.

Comments: 6 Responses to “iOS Orientation Lock”

    4 years ago

    Another very helpful tip. Thank you for helping me get so much out of my Mac

    4 years ago

    On my iPad mini 2 (retina), a tiny icon appears in the top bar whenever orientation lock is on.

    4 years ago

    I find none of the icons you mention when I go to Control Center vis settings.
    so I am unable to change the orientation from the home screen on my iPhone 6+.

      4 years ago

      On the iPhone 6+, it will show either the orientation lock in Control Center. But I don’t think you can set the side switch to do it.

    4 years ago

    I have to say that Apple made this so confusing that even the Apple support rep on the phone couldn’t figure this out. My camera was stuck in vertical mode and I didn’t have the circle under control center on home screen. It was missing! When we looked in General, common sense, to me seemed like if mute was checked it was going to mute volume and I wouldn’t hear any notifications so I had Lock Rotation checked instead. When the slider is on the iPad 3 is silenced, but when it’s on I have sound.

    4 years ago

    For those that don’t realize it you can temporarily hold the orientation of say a photo if you put your finger on the screen and then turn the phone.

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