My iPad Won’t Rotate! Here’s The Real Fix.

You’re turning your iPad left, right, and upside-down, but the screen won’t rotate. Fortunately, there’s usually nothing wrong your iPad. In this article, I’ll explain what to do when your iPad won’t rotate so you know what to do if it happens again.

Why Won’t My iPad Rotate?

Your iPad won’t rotate because Device Orientation Lock is turned on. Device Orientation Lock allows you to lock your iPad’s screen in portrait or landscape mode, depending on how your iPad is rotated when you turn it on.

Device Orientation Lock for iPad is slightly different than Portrait Orientation Lock for iPhone. On your iPhone, Portrait Orientation Lock always locks your display in portrait mode.

ipad rotation lock is on

How Do I Turn Off Device Orientation Lock?

To turn off Device Orientation Lock, swipe up from the very bottom of the screen to open Control Center. Tap the button with the lock icon inside the circular arrow to turn Device Orientation off or on.

ipad rotation lock off

If You Have An Older iPad

Every iPad released before the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4, and iPad Pro has a switch on the right side, just above the volume buttons. This side switch can be set to mute sound or toggle device orientation lock. In other words, depending on how your iPad is set up, you can turn Device Orientation Lock on or off by flipping the switch on the side.

This can be especially confusing for iPad users because it’s easy to accidentally flip the side switch and lock your display into one position. To check whether your iPad’s side switch is set to mute sound or toggle Device Orientation Lock, go to Settings -> General, scroll down to the section titled USE SIDE SWITCH TO: and look for the check next to Lock Rotation or Mute.

Another way to check to whether the side switch is set to Lock Rotation is to flip the switch on the side of your iPad and watch what appears on the screen. If Lock Rotation is checked in Settings -> General, you’ll see a lock in a circular arrow appear on the display. If Mute is checked, a speaker icon will appear on the display.

If you have an iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4, iPad Pro, or newer, you can toggle Device Orientation Lock using Control Center, just like Portrait Orientation Lock on iPhone.

Device Orientation Lock Is Off!

If you’re sure that Device Orientation Lock is off, you’re iPad probably isn’t rotating because an app you were using has crashed. When apps crash, sometimes the screen will freeze, making it impossible for you to rotate your iPad.

To open the app switcher, double-click the Home button (if your iPad has one), or swipe up from the bottom to the center of the screen (if your iPad doesn’t have a Home button).

Then, close the troublesome app by swiping it up and off of the top of the screen. If the app continues to crash your iPad over and over again, you may want to find a replacement!

close out of apps on ipad

Hard Reset Your iPad

It’s also possible your iPad won’t rotate because it is completely frozen. A hard reset will force your iPad to abruptly turn off then on again, which can fix a frozen display.

If your iPad has a Home button, simultaneously press and hold the power button and Home button until the screen goes black and the Apple logo appears.

If your iPad doesn’t have a Home button, quickly press and release the volume up button, then quickly press and release the volume down button, then press and hold the Top button until the screen goes black and the Apple logo appears.

Note: You may need to hold the button or buttons for 25–30 seconds to complete the hard reset.

To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn

The next time you see a friend steering their iPad left and right because their iPad won’t rotate, give them a hand — you know what to do. Leave a comment down below if you have any other questions!

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Mike Bingham
3 months ago

I’ve tried everything including hard reset and my iPad Air 2 screen will still not rotate….HELP !

A user
10 months ago

Hard reset did it for me. Thank you!

Valeria Ochoa
11 months ago

This helped me out a lot! Thank you so much

1 year ago

Thank you. Hard reset fixed it

1 year ago

My icons at bottom of iPhone are now turned sideways… 🤷‍♀️

Judy Burgesd
2 years ago

Hard restart fixed my frozen iPad Air 2

2 years ago

My iPad got stuck rotated upside down and the rotation switch had no effect, I shut it down and restarted it and that fixed the problem

2 years ago

Thank you!

2 years ago

Worked for me, thanks so much. I did have to turn my iPad off and restart before it worked.

2 years ago

Thank you but I tried all the suggestions here and i cant seem to get it work. What is the problem? I need help please.

2 years ago

Came here hoping to find a solution, but the above is really just a tutorial on the settings and not a solution to a known problem with the software. The issue appears from time to time, often seemingly randomly. The only fix is to switch off and then restart, which is not a very elegant solution in 2021. Sometimes the fault occurs when an app misbehaves – notably Instagram – what are the developers of this app thinking by not allowing landscape mode, and why can’t they fix the way it hijacks the screen rotation thing? Dopey developers obviously think… Read more »

2 years ago

I still can’t get it to work. If an app crashed I have no idea what it was. Now it’s off and I can’t turn it back on.

3 years ago

Not all iPads swipe up to open the control center. Mine swipes down from the upper right corner.

Pat Wilson
3 years ago

David, Thanks! I followed your instructions and was able to immediately turn off the device orientation lock. Again thanks. I’m now rotating again. ?

3 years ago

Best video on this yet! Helped me solve the issue immediately

Liam Shotwell
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue

Thank you! ? Make sure to like and subscribe so you don’t miss any of our new videos

3 years ago

This was so helpful. Thank you for the instructions about the side switch on older iPads.

3 years ago

David, thank you so much!! I have an older iPad and used your suggestion to find the switch next to the sound rocker switch…moved it and “screaming yellow sinkers” the screen rotates!! Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless??

Nkana Sam Nkana
3 years ago

Honestly l have done all as described but still not rotating.l use to have the rotation icon on my screen anytime it gives problem I just use the rotation key to rotate to whichever direction I want. Recently after an update it disappear and I don’t know how to bring it back. Still need help

4 years ago

I have an IPad Air 2 and my screen won’t rotate. I have checked to make sure that the rotate lock is off. Everything was great until the last update. It hasn’t rotated since. It could be a coincidence, but I am a System Engineer and am sceptical.

3 years ago
Reply to  Skip

Same issue faced here as well, tried everything but no cigar, believe it’s the update.

3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I got stuck with it too, this is I got it fixed- Turn on Assistive Touch> Open Assistive Touch> Device> Rotate Screen> Select how you want to rotate it. I hope this helped.

3 years ago
Reply to  Fayazul

Thanks! That just helped me fix mine. Genius!

Joanne Guerra
3 years ago
Reply to  Fayazul

Yes! Thank you, finally.

3 years ago
Reply to  Fayazul

That only changed the rotation for one time …. still does not turn when I turn it

h uu
1 year ago
Reply to  Fayazul


3 years ago
Reply to  Skip

I had the same issue, as simple as it seems, shutting down and restarting fixed it.

Joanne Hiratsuka Petersen
3 years ago
Reply to  Pat

Yes, this is what worked for my iPad mini 4 — turned it off, then back on. The Assistive Touch doesn’t have “rotate screen” under devices!

Warren Col
5 years ago

There are a few apps that just wont rotate while using. I have had mail do that. Have to minimize the app, then open it again, dont even have to close it. And the app hasnt crashed. Some Other apps have the same issue.

Are Parker
5 years ago

Yeah, this doesnt help…I know about the lock, but no amount of swiping brings up the control center!

Virginia Magboo
5 years ago

THAN K YOU! Been trying for over an hour to rotate screen, and found your site. I am sane again!

Jeanne Parrish
5 years ago

I fell over your site a couple days ago and its the best Ive ever consulted on. The information you have usually solves my problemand if it doesnt, I found the iPhone defective. Thanks a million. Youre in my contacts now so I can jump right to your page.

Mila Cotsi
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeanne Parrish

Thank you for your help giving the clue to unlock . It help a lot.