One of the really cool things about the iPhone and other iOS devices like the iPad and iPod touch is that their screens can orient themselves based on how you hold the device. You've probably seen it happen without even wanting to. If you turn the iPhone on its side, the screen adjusts to display wide rather than tall.
But sometimes, when you turn your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the screen doesn't rotate… it doesn't fit. This can be frustrating or make your device difficult to use. It might even make you think your phone is broken. There are a couple of reasons why the screen might not rotate - and most aren't real problems. Here's what could happen and how to fix.
The tips in this article apply to all iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad models running iOS 11 and iOS 12.
Read also: How to take full page screenshots with iOS 13, iPadOS 13
Try to unlock the iPhone screen rotation
iOS includes a setting called Screen Rotation Lock. As you probably guessed from its name, it prevents your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from rotating the screen, no matter how you turn the device.
To check if the screen rotation lock is activated, look at an icon that looks like an arrow curving around a block in the upper right corner of the screen next to the battery indicator. If you see that icon, the screen rotation lock is activated (this icon is not present on all versions of iOS and on some devices like iPhone X and XS, it can only be viewed in the Control Center).
To disable screen rotation lock, follow these steps:
1. In iOS 7 or later, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to display Control Center. The icon on the far left - the icon of the padlock and arrow - is highlighted to indicate that it is activated.
On iPhone X and newer models or iPad with iOS 12 and later, swipe down from the top right corner instead.
2. Touch the padlock and arrow icon to turn off rotation lock.
3. When done, press the Home button or swipe to close Control Center and you will return to the main screen.
With that done, try to rotate your iPhone again. The screen should rotate this time. If not, there are other things you can try.
In previous versions of iOS, Rotation Lock is found in Quick App Switch, which you can open by double-clicking the Home button and then swiping from left to right.
Some apps don't support screen rotation
While many apps support screen rotation, not all of them do. The home screen on most iPhone and iPod touch models cannot rotate (although on the iPhone 6 Plus, 6S Plus, 7 Plus, and 8 Plus), and some apps are designed to work in one orientation only.
If you turn on your device and the screen doesn't orient, check if orientation lock is enabled. If it's not enabled, the app is probably designed not to rotate.
Display Zoom Lock the rotation of the iPhone screen
If you have an iPhone 6 Plus, 6S Plus, 7 Plus, or 8 Plus, you can rotate the home screen layout along with apps. If the main screen does not rotate and the Screen Rotation Lock is not active, Zoom Display may interfere with it. This option allows you to enlarge the icons and text on the larger screens of these devices to make them easier to see. If you are unable to rotate the home screen on these devices, disable Screen Zoom by following these steps:
1. Touch Settings.
2. Touch Display and brightness.
3. Touch Immagine in the section Display zoom.
4. Touch Standard.
5. Touch Tax.
The phone will restart with the new zoom setting and the main screen will be able to rotate.
If the screen doesn't rotate, your accelerometer may be broken
If the app you're using definitely supports screen rotation and orientation lock and display zoom on your device are definitely disabled, but the screen still won't rotate, there may be a problem with the device hardware.
The rotation of the screen is controlled by the device's accelerometer, a sensor that tracks the movements of the device. If the accelerometer is broken, it won't be able to track motion and won't know when to rotate the screen. If you suspect a hardware problem with your phone, make an appointment at the Apple Store to check.
Using the screen rotation lock on the iPad
While the iPad runs on the same operating system as the iPhone and iPod touch, screen rotation works slightly differently on some models. For one, the main screen on all models can rotate. For another, the setting is controlled a little differently on some models.
If you have an iPad before the iPad Air or iPad mini 3, this tip is for you. In the Settings app, tap General and you will find a setting named Use side switch which lets you choose the small switch on the side above the volume buttons controls the mute function or rotation lock.
On newer iPad models - iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, and all iPad Pro models - use Control Center as described earlier in the article.