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How to Make Your Android Phone Stop Rotating the Screen When You’re Reading Sideways

Do you lay in bed and read email or twitter on your phone in portrait mode? Doesn’t it drive you crazy when the screen rotates into landscape mode? Here’s the quick way to solve that problem.

There’s actually a couple of ways to solve the problem, but we’ll show you two ways to solve the problem—one that makes sense, and the other that will only really work for people with a hardware keyboard.

Create a Shortcut to Toggle Auto-Rotate

This is by far the best option, since it will work regardless of the type of phone you have—just hit the AutoRotate Switch icon anytime you want the phone to stop rotating on you, and then hit the icon again when you want to enable the feature.

Head into the Market and search for “AutoRotate Switch”, install it, and then drag it from your applications folder onto the desktop somewhere. This application runs as a shortcut and not a widget in order to save memory.

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Now whenever you hit the shortcut, it’ll show a little dialog that says “Switching OFF Auto-rotate”, and when you use the shortcut again, it’ll switch it back on. Awesome!

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Note: as of the time of this writing, this little application is free. If at some point it should become non-free, you can always search for one of the other similar applications out there. I chose this one because it’s a shortcut and doesn’t waste memory running in the background as a widget.

The Built-in Way to Disable Auto-Rotate

If you’ve got a Droid, G1, or a Droid 2, you can make the phone stay in portrait mode all the time unless you’ve got the hardware keyboard extended. Before I found the shortcut method, this is what I used—it’s not as convenient, but it does work.

Head into Settings –> Display and uncheck Auto-rotate screen. That’s all there is to it.

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So there you are—hit snooze on your alarm, and get comfortable in bed with your email, twitter, and whatever else.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/24/10

Comments (8)

  1. Hatryst

    Android would have spent a lot of time on perfecting the accelerometer. They perhaps, wanted to make it work like the iPhone. Just one advice to iPhone copiers… Don’t copy if you cant paste !

  2. Chappers

    Or you could just do what I do and lie on your other side.

  3. Rob

    Use Tasker to make your own widget to turn off screen rotation.

  4. Leigh

    @Rob – easy in Tasker, but how do you get it to Flash the state?

  5. Clay

    So here’s one for you… How to you get Android to lock into landscape rather than portrait? I actually like reading certain things, like say articles saved in Instapaper, this way.. Additionally, it would be handy while my phone is mounted to my bike as I could lay it flat and still have it in landscape.

  6. ColdEmbrace

    This doesn’t work well with Zeam launcher, it has its own rotate function which hijacks the function from android, is there anyway to bypass this?

  7. Xenio

    For a controlled rotate action, there this app in the market SHAKE ‘N ROTATE
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.andreabaccega.togglerotation

    You can choose to rotate or lock rotation with a shake :)
    Thanks
    Xenio

  8. jerray

    Clay. Did you ever find a way to lock your droid in landscape mode? I want mine to be locked permanintly on to lanscape. I have droid 2 global slide out keyboard

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