iOS 4: Locking Screen Orientation

| TMO Quick Tip

iOS 4 and the iPhone 4 include the ability to lock the orientation of your screen, much like the orientation lock switch on the iPad. On the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, however, that feature is software-based, and requires more than just sliding a switch to prevent the screen from rotating.

Swipe recent apps right to find the rotation lock

Here’s how to lock your iPhone 4 and 3GS screen orientation:

  • Double-tap the Home button on your iPhone to show the recently used apps bar.
  • Swipe the recently used apps icons to the right until you see the iPod controls.
  • Tap the rotation lock button. It’s to the left of the iPod controls.

iOS 4’s rotation lock button

Tapping the rotation lock button forces your iPhone 4 or 3GS display to stay in portrait, or vertical, orientation when you turn the device. When the rotation lock feature is disabled, your display switches between portrait and landscape mode as you rotate your iPhone. With any luck, Apple will add horizontal, or landscape, orientation support soon.

iOS 4’s rotation lock badge

Unfortunately, this feature isn’t supported on the iPhone 3G because you need a device that’s new enough to support multi-tasking so you can see the recently used apps bar. For users with newer devices, however, this is a great way to keep your screen from constantly changing orientation if you read in bed.

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Just a reminder, if you want to enable multitasking/rotation lock on a 3G check out the latest redsn0w jailbreak. It only takes a few clicks to get multitasking going.

iSki iMac

With any luck, Apple will add horizontal, or landscape, orientation support soon.

Yes - that is what I’m waiting for!

Dan Ashley in Chicago

I am anxiously awaiting landscape (aka horizontal) lock.

Nothing worse than watching family video or YouTube video in widescreen mode, and having the stupid thing swing around 90 degrees every time my tummy rumbles.


Funny thing about locking landscape is that it has been a part of the iPhone OS/iOS since the very beginning. If you hold the phone in landscape mode and then rotate it 180 degrees it won’t rotate any more. Laying down, then looking at the phone in landscape while the phone is actually in portrait, in relation to the ground, will keep the screen orientated in landscape.

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