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

You’re turning your iPhone sideways, but the screen won’t rotate. It’s a frustrating problem, but don’t worry: The solution is just a swipe and a tap away. In this article, I’ll explain why your iPhone won’t rotate and how to fix the problem.

Why Won’t My iPhone Rotate?

Your iPhone won’t rotate because Portrait Orientation Lock is turned on. Portrait Orientation Lock locks your iPhone’s display in the upright position, which is known as portrait mode.

How Do I Know If Portrait Orientation Lock Is Turned On?

Portrait Orientation Lock OnLook in the upper right-hand corner of your iPhone’s screen, just to the left of the battery icon. If you see a tiny lock inside a circular arrow, Portrait Orientation Lock is turned on.

How Do I Turn Off Portrait Orientation Lock On My iPhone?

To turn off Portrait Orientation Lock, swipe up from the bottom of the display to reveal Control Center. Tap the button with the lock inside the arrow circle Portrait Orientation Lock Button to turn Portrait Orientation Lock on or off.

Turn Off Portrait Orientation Lock In Control Center

Turn Off Portrait Orientation Lock In Control Center

Portrait Mode vs. Landscape Mode

Just like your printer paper, your iPhone’s display has two orientations: Portrait and landscape. When your iPhone is held upright, it’s in portrait mode. When it’s on its side, it’s in landscape mode.

portrait mode iPhone

iPhone in Portrait Mode

Landscape mode iPhone

iPhone in Landscape Mode

Landscape Mode Only Works In Certain Apps

When an app is created, the developer has the option to choose whether their app will work in portrait mode, landscape mode, or both. The Settings app, for example, only works in portrait mode. The Messages app and Safari work in both portrait and landscape mode, and many games work only in landscape mode.

If Portrait Orientation Lock is turned off and an app isn’t rotating, it may not support landscape mode. I have seen cases, however, where an app won’t rotate because it crashed. If you think that may have happened, close out your apps, reopen the problem app, and try again. I’ve also written an article about why despite what you may have heard, closing out your apps is absolutely a good idea.

When Should I Use Portrait Orientation Lock?

Portrait Orientation Lock Turned OnI use Portrait Orientation Lock when I’m rotated too. For example, When I’m using my iPhone in bed, the screen tends to rotate when I don’t want it to. Portrait Orientation Lock keeps my iPhone display in the right direction when I’m laying down.

I’ve also found it useful when I’m showing pictures to my friends. As I’m astounding them with photos of my adventures, they often become ill and excuse themselves – due to the rotating screen, of course. With Portrait Orientation Lock turned on, I can entertain them for hours on end.

I’m Pickin’ Up Good Rotations

Whether you’re watching a movie, listening to the Beach Boys, surfing the web, or you like to type using the keyboard in landscape mode, it’s always annoying when your iPhone screen won’t rotate. Now that you know why it happens, you’ll never struggle with Portrait Orientation Lock again.

Thanks for reading, and remember to pay it forward,
David P.

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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sjc
17 days ago

thank you. You were the only one who showed me how to get the Control Center up. Everyone else just said “Get the Control Centre up”. Sorted, thank you.

Anonymous
1 year ago

Thank you so much. You were right.

Anonymous
1 year ago

It is really helpful for me! Because once my iPhone can’t rotate videos, I will use HD Video Converter Factory to rotate videos on PC, then transfer them to my iPhone. But it is also a good tool for rotating and converting videos.

Anonymous
1 year ago

Thank you so much!

Anonymous
1 year ago

Awesome! Thanks so much!! 🙂

Anonymous
1 year ago

Thank you so much. Guess my grandson hit that button.

Anonymous
2 years ago

I am in safari web browser and portrait lock is off but sitll will not rotate

Anonymous
2 years ago

I must’ve hit it when in Control Center, and wasn’t aware I honked it up….THANKS!!

Anonymous
2 years ago

thank you 🙂

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you. Clear and easy instructions. I would never have worked it out!

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thanks, after many recommendations on web, only this worked immediately.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you so much I got it

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you! Solved in 5seconds!

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thanks! It works now

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thanks. Now I can rotate my phone.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you so MUCH! My phone was messed up for days and I tried the zoom crap that Google tells you to do and it doesn’t fix the rotate issue just gives you a headache cuz your apps are to magnified on your screen..,

Anonymous
2 years ago

thanks

Anonymous
2 years ago

My rotation lock is off and my iPad still won’t rotate. I tried rotating in Safari browser and on the home screen, and it won’t work. I use lock orientation occasionally, but this time after disabling it, my iPad stopped responding to being rotated. I’ve enabled and disabled it multiple times to no avail.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thanks so much. I tried other sources. Yours was easy, simple..

Anonymous
3 years ago

Dude, life saver. Work help desk told me to do a Factor Restor. Luckily I always check one more time.

Huge Thanks!!!

Anonymous
3 years ago

You are a lifesaver!! Thank you!

Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you because now I’m able to allow my IPhone to rotate

Dana
4 years ago

Portrait mode was not locked on my iPhone 6 Plus, yet I cannot start a new message in Landscape mode. I have to be in Portrait mode to start the initial message. After I send the first one, future responses in that message can be type in Landscape mode. What’s up with this?