TiPs & Tricks: Lock iPhone orientation in landscape

The orientation lock button was first seen back in the third beta of iOS 4. A quick double tap on the home key and a swipe to the left and you are there. This handy little button stops your screen from rotating to landscape when you want to be in portrait mode and was a great addition to iOS. At least, it was until people found out they needed to sometimes lock it in landscape mode as well.

For me, this is a problem when I am laying in bed. If I unlock my phone to switch it to landscape mode, I cant lock it again and have to keep the device horizontal to keep the orientation I want. However, if I turn to lay on my side, my iPod thinks it is vertical and will switch back–that darn accelerometer . Now of course there are some ways of fixing this and, not surprisingly, there is a very popular jailbreak tweak called Landscape lock rotation that allows you to lock your device in portrait or landscape mode. If you wish to remain un-jailbroken, the only option is to turn your device so that the top is down. Most applications don’t turn completely upside-down so it stays in landscape view. However, if you, like me, are particular about which way you hold your device, you might find this annoying; I prefer to have my home button be on the right. Well, I appear to have found a solution.

Even in iOS 5, an iPhone can still only be locked in the portrait orientation. Luckily for us though, Apple included some new features like AssistiveTouch. When activated, a little square floats on your screen and can be dragged around and placed wherever you like along the edges. When you touch it, a menu appears allowing you to perform various functions, such as locking the screen and adjusting the volume.

Well, one of the options that AssistiveTouch offers is the ability to change the orientation; you can choose from left, right, upside down, and portrait. Now here is where it gets good. You can change the orientation to any of these without unlocking the orientation switch. What’s so great about that? This allows you to change the orientation to landscape while it is still locked! Voilà, your iPhone/iPod is now locked in landscape mode. If you want to switch back, you can change it with the AssistvieTouch menu or simply unlock the orientation. That is all there is to it.

If you want to try this out for yourself, here is the navigation to get to the setting:

Enabling AssistiveTouch:
Settings App>General>Scroll Down to Accessibility>Scroll Down to AssistiveTouch>Toggle on AssistiveTouch.

Switching to Landscape:
Press Floating Square>Device>Rotate Screen>Left/Right

Let me know if this worked for you in the comments below. Also if you want to share a trick of your own send me a tweet  @ArmoredFowl.

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  • yeah it kinda works, it’s not like the ipad lock switch, the screen will go back to portrait if tilted.

    I’d recommend the triple home button click to turn on/off the white touch assist button

    • Yours goes back? Are you sure that the orientation is locked? 

      Yea, I just found the triple click option. 

    • Nicola

      You have to turn on the normal iPad lock first, then use this to change it to landscape, it will then stay locked.

  • Anonymous

  • Anonymous
  • Allisondbl

    It works and you’re AN ABSOLUTE GENIUS as I was loathe to jailbreak but saw NO other choice. It’s not perfect as it’s a bloody lot of steps but!   One thing that should be made a bit more clear (yes, you DO mention it but in the text not again in the “steps”) is that you must put ON the LOCK so it’s LOCKED in portrait mode and then when you use assistive to turn the screen it will REMAIN locked. But BRAVO!

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for the tip. Only thing I would complain about is that little square on the screen. Is there any way to hide it?

  • Richyok

    Brilliant for using Tomtom App on my motorbike – well done

  • JenniferDavisEwing

    Just tried this on my iPhone 4.  Got as far as Rotate Screen…but when I kept trying to get it to rotate to landscape, it wouldn’t take, no matter how hard or soft I pressed with my finger.

  • michaelpece

    You can set it to be toggled by triple-clicking the home button.
    Go to Settings > General > Accessibility
    Scroll to the bottom and select ‘Triple-click Home’ and set it to AssistiveTouch.

  • michaelpece

    Great trick, thanks!

  • IndyInAsia

    Thanks, Bryce. This is a function that TWO AppleCare Genii failed to tell me about when I called twice asking how to lock landscape mode on an iPod Touch 5th Generation.

  • Ben Ellis

    Thanks for this, very helpful!

  • Looks like it worked – thank you! I can throw away my purchase of “Gray Out” now that my screen has stopped wildly flipping …

  • Jason Bixby Prather

    hey bryce, thanks so much. i was hating this for the same reasons you were. and now thanks to your diligence and posting of a solution, i am very happy. cheers.

  • Dan D

    OH EM GEE. You’ve made me so happy. I was the guy that would lie in bed and turn the phone upside down so it would stop rotating and lock in landscape. But then I bought a 6 plus and that functionality is gone — it acts more like an iPad but your A.T. hack fixed it. Yay!
    I almost didn’t read your post because it was from over 3 years ago. (Way too long ago to be relevant) Then I saw it was posted on my birthday and thought what the hell. Well turns out it was the best birthday present evah. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU MR. DANIEL.

  • Diane Kahl


    Thanks so much for this great instruction! Annoyed when texting and phone switches to landscaple orientation and can’t seem to rotate it back to portrait. This little Assistive Touch button is extremely useful! Would never have known about it without your information; the manuals are extremely general.

    I’ve been on Apple Chat before and have not received good information; in fact I discovered info on my own. For example for some reason all my contacts mysteriously erased suddenly; they are kept in a Gmail account specifically set up for an android phone. Apple Chat rep had me completely reset phone when all was needed was to un-install Gmail account, turn off/on phone, add Gmail back in, voila, there were the contacts!

    Thank you again! Hope you’re still here in 2015 and that your filmmaking is thriving!

  • Alexandra Janina Reynolds

    How do you work the rotation on the homescreen? i have the iphone 6

  • Spouse O’Jess

    Hey thanks! Works great ☺️

  • Leigh

    Thank you so much for this tip! I locked the setting on portrait when I first bought my phone, thinking I’d never need landscape. Then my laptop went wonky, and I couldn’t remember how to reset to enable both views. I like your idea much better, but I’d love it even more if I could find a way to reduce the floating menu square that seems to stay enlarged and blocks my view of my now-landscaped screen. I guess you can’t have it all after all, lol. BTW, after reading the posts below, and considering that I’ve just done this the once, mine also reverted when I turned my phone right-side up. And I know it’s locked in portrait (because as I mentioned above, I couldn’t remember how to unlock it if I had to). Still, you’re a lifesaver, and I do appreciate the tip. I seldom use Siri, feeling strange to be conversing with my phone, but she gets the credit for finding you.

  • Vickie Bustin Belzer

    My orientation is locked and when I double click I do not get any icons. The Assist button will not work while my orientation is still locked. Help!