iOS 4: Locking Screen Orientation

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.