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How to Enable Landscape Orientation on the Nexus 7′s Home Screen

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Unlike other tablets, the Nexus 7’s home screen is locked in portrait mode by default. If you’re using an app in landscape mode and hit the home button, you’ll have to flip your tablet around to read the home screen.

Google thinks locking the home screen to portrait mode is a smart idea – and they may be right. But this is Android, and you’re free to disagree with Google and customize your device without any jailbreaking required.

Toggle Screen Orientation Lock

The Nexus 7 ships with the screen orientation lock enabled, so all apps will be in portrait mode – no matter how you tilt your screen.

To enable landscape mode, you’ll have to disable the screen orientation lock feature. Pull down the notification tray at the top of the screen and tap the lock-shaped icon to the right of the date to unlock the screen orientation.

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Use Rotation Locker or Ultimate Rotation Control

Even after disabling the system-wide screen orientation lock, the home screen will be locked to portrait mode. Howeve,r you can use an app to enable landscape orientation in the Nexus 7′s built-in home screen.

Install Rotation Locker from Google Play – it’s free. After you do, you can launch the app and tap Landscape to force the home screen and all other apps into landscape mode.

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Another option is Ultimate Rotation Control – it’s more powerful than Rotation Locker, but the free version only offers a seven-day trial — the full version will set you back about $3. Still, that could be a good use of the $25 Google Play credit you received with your the Nexus 7.

With Ultimate Rotation Control, you can set the rotation mode to “Forced Auto” and “App Only” – this will let you force the homescreen to auto-rotate without forcing other apps, such as games that require a specific orientation, to automatically rotate.

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Install Custom Launchers

Like other Android devices, the Nexus 7 supports third-party launchers that can replace its home screen. Many third-party launchers are available in Google Play, and quite a few of them will support landscape mode.

One great launcher that supports landscape mode is Holo Launcher, which is available for free on Google Play. After installing Holo Launcher (or any other launcher), tap the Home button and you’ll be prompted to select your launcher.

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You’ll notice that Holo Launcher – along with many other launchers – will automatically change orientations when you rotate your screen. No tricks required!

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Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 07/27/12

Comments (8)

  1. Brian

    Anybody know of a good app that prevents specific services on the 7 from being killed that doesn’t seem so scary to install? The permissions allowed on most of the apps on Google Play make me paranoid. Allow this or that program to directly call phone numbers, read sensitive log data, retrieve running app data… some of these go on and on. And this is a paid app! D:

  2. Brian

    Excellent article, though! I had been looking for something like this for a while.

  3. cirs

    Thank u so much!! Just been able to fix the main thing I found wrong with nexus 7. Can now view web pages in landscape. Easy & free!!

  4. Mark

    Google is LAZY, how can you possibly explain a company trying to compete with the likes of Apple, to have in their latest and greatest Android version, no have something simple as rotation in their base OS, this is ridiculous and only shows how lazy, short sighted, out of touch with reality. Too bad it seems that the hardware of my Nexus 7 16gb is great, too bad that this company has no idea on how to use their resources, give me 6 of your developers and I can make it happen for less than 50k, which is peanuts… Can wait to see in what sweet they will decide to build basic features that will make android compete with Ipod touch as even that is still better… PS I work with MS development, IOS and Android, and I’m not fanboy to anything but to stuff that works, so please Google get your shit together and deliver at least basic functionality.

  5. jeff

    Thanks I didn’t catch the “tray” or is it a suitcase? This default is a fail! Unless your target mkt are BW kindle users. If so then consider battery life. If you mostly read and don’t surf, e-ink rocks! If you like your amazon account already don’t switch.

    If you have no affinity for Amazon, the nexus beats the fire in terms of general finish.

  6. guerren

    Hi mark! You must not have actually read the article. Please get your shit together. Screen rotation is available, just not on the home screen. Breaking news, neither the iPod touch nor the iPhone have it on the home screen either (iPad, yes). But you’re a developer with all these platforms so I’m sure you already realized this. Can’t wait to see what awesome stuff you kick out in the future!

  7. Cory

    Fantastic post, thank you for your help!

  8. Jim Marbury

    Thank you! Had been looking all over for this. You should have a +1 button.

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