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How to Lock the Screen Orientation on Your iPad (with iOS 4.2)

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If you upgraded to the latest iOS release on your iPad, only to figure out that the screen orientation lock doesn’t work anymore, here’s how to lock the screen using the new, annoying method.

We’re definitely irritated with Apple for making this change—the hardware screen lock was one of the best features of the iPad, and now it’s gone. At least you can still lock it.

Locking the Screen Orientation

Start by holding the iPad in the direction you’d like to lock it, and then press the Home button twice quickly, like a double-click.

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The new task switcher will show up at the bottom of the screen, and then you’ll want to slide your finger over to the right to access the new screen hidden on the left.

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Once you can see the new screen, click the button on the bottom left-hand side of the screen, and it will lock.

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If you wanted to lock the iPad in landscape mode, you’d have to hold it in landscape mode before going through all of this.

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 11/24/10

Comments (35)

  1. Josh

    i.e. screen orientation lock is now achieved just like it is on an iPhone and iPod touch i.e. Not really that difficult. And the hardware switch on the iPad is mute now, just like it is on an iPhone and iPod touch.

    And seriously, “the hardware screen lock was one of the best features of the iPad”…

  2. David Levine

    I agree that this wasn’t probably the best decision on Apple’s part as the iPad is different then the iPhone.

    On a sidenote, it’s interesting that you can only lock the iPhone in portrait mode and not in landscape mode.

  3. Sid

    LOL! I just googled this exact same thing around an hour or two ago! I seriously hope they put an option for how to use the side button in future for this way of locking the screen is seriously counter productive!

  4. TomSr

    Why do some feel that the iPad needed to be castrated to conform with the ways of the iPhone and iPod Touch?

  5. Jason Pelker

    The new mute button doesn’t even work with all programs (i.e. Pandora). I can’t really understand the point of it, especially since the “hold volume down for one second” still works as a proper mute. This is just obstinate and foolish decision making on Apple’s part.

  6. Camilo Martin

    When I see news like this, I remember why I stick to Windows and Linux.

    On Linux, you can configure anything the way you want.

    On Windows, the system is such a mess that it gets easy to hack it to be the way you want it to be.

    On Apple devices, it’s the way Steve “Blow” Jobs wants it to be.

  7. mattia (italy)

    Hello @Jason, the new mute button is not needed to clear the volume of music or other sounds of the App, but only to cancel the sound of keyboard keys dell’iPad .. test and let me know!
    Ciao from Italy!

  8. bonedog73

    I’m glad to see there are others that were annoyed at Apple for changing this. All you had to do was hold down the volume-down for .5sec and bam it’s on mute…We need a toggle switch just to do that??? Ugh! I used the orientation quite often and I almost never muted my iPad.

  9. atat34

    i’m restoring to older version because i need the orientation lock on the side. uugghh

  10. Edwin

    Cool. Ive yet to get an IPad but this is certainly helpful

  11. Gmk

    Thanks this is really helpful. I don’t want to go back to the old version because I like the free MobileMe option.

  12. Mr Finance

    I’ve tried locking and unlocking the iPad and it works for every application EXCEPT Mail! My mail is STUCK in landscape mode and only one way – with the home button on the left. How can I unlock this landscape mode for mail? I’d like to read my mail in portrait mode. Any suggestions?

  13. Mohan

    Thanks, I was wondering about that. Stupid Apple didn’t even have a intro video to all the changes they had done!

  14. Tosh

    It works with my iTouch, too! Now I can laze around and play with it on my bed without no stress! Thanks for your contribution!!

  15. Jhall
  16. John Mulvihill

    Sure. Wade through 181 pages when Apple could have provided a two-page cheat sheet.

    Thanks for this information. It’s hugely helpful. Now, what is the shortcut for @ key, please?

  17. Tone

    Thanks for the info!! I thought that update feature was really dumb especially when holding the vol. down an extra second longer would have given you the same results. Now I can watch Netflix and email in bed again.

  18. sue

    Thought I was going crazy always used the old lock feature when reading and for a week couldn’t get it to lock…didn’t have time to do the research until today to figure out the change. Mine is an original Ipad and I had I did the update but didn’t anticipate the buttons would change.
    Need to download the new users guide as I did look it up in my old one with NO help for obvious reasons. Even restored it to original settings today as I thought I had messed it up….little did I know it was Apple that had messed with one of my favorite short cut keys! UGH!

  19. Betty

    When I double click home key I get keyboard not menu……any ideas?

  20. Carl

    @Betty : You’re double clicking the home key too slowly. Tap it more rapidly like a mouse click and your navigator will appear. Follow directions above as specified thereafter.

  21. Kate

    I’ve got stuck like mr finance. Without ever locking it manually, mail has suddenly decided to only work in landscape wut button on right. No unlocking seems to shift it :-( no instructions in user guide fir how to get it undone. Any offers? Thx

  22. Kim

    Ahh I wondered why I couldn’t lock it now.

    Thanks for that tip guys, it was really bugging me that I couldn’t lock it

  23. Walt.

    If anyone ever finds the “BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH” when you open your Video icon. Just double click on the home button, scroll over to the skip back / play / skip forward buttons and press play to resume or skip forward a couple of times to the end. This should solve the problem I have found. ONLY works for iOS 4.2.

  24. Ruth langford

    I do not like the way you lock the screen now I think it most inconvenient
    Bring back the side screen lock switch

  25. Bill

    I honestly thought lock button was broken on my iPad for a few months until I saw the iPad 2 press release.

    Definitely made more sense to have it as an orientation lock. In any case, if you hold the volume-down button for like 1 second it will skip down to mute anyways so why do we need a mute button.

  26. formerapplelover

    Good job apple for screwing up a good thing. I would have never done the update, if I had known it would change that function. I don’t think they realize how irritating it is for consumers. I want a refund on my ipad it is now useless to me. I would rather go back to a PC based product. Google honey comb here I come!

  27. Chan

    Erm, if you go to Settings, then General; you will see where it says ‘use side switch to’ then you just change it from mute to lock rotation. Problem solved :)

  28. Kim

    If you upgrade to version 4.3.1 of iPad software they have returned the orientation lock switch functionality. Yay
    Kim

  29. Kim

    As Chan said you go into settings, general and there is now an option to choose between lock rotation and mute.

  30. Ruth

    Hi Chan could you please advise which software version you have? because i do not have this option of selecting lock rotation. i am guessing it might be a 4.3 software thing as Kim said. version 4.2 definitely does not have it!!
    And a big thanks for this article!! i also thought it was a broken button,but thankfully suspected a software stuff up and found this forum.
    I also agree with John.. a little release video or a cheat sheet would have been most courteous..not all of us have time or access to watch the tech week videos or wade through manuals to find a needle of advice in a haystack of info!

  31. Joy

    great info and explained very minutely. thanks a lot ! appreciate your goodwill to all !

  32. Adrian

    Awesome!!!!! My screen was locked for like a week!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Lynne

    I used this to unlock my screen. I thought my iPod was broken. This is terrific! Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Adam

    Well… You can actually have it both ways. Hardware/button/switch lock for the screen, then the menu based is for mute, or the other way around. You can chose which one to use through Settings -> General -> Use Side Switch to: [Lock Rotation][Mute]. Select one of those two that suits your fancy!
    :)

  35. David

    When I noticed the button had changed from lock mode to mute I thought either I was crazy or my iPad2 was broken. I’m glad I found this article. I went under settings and changed it from mute to lock.
    I still love my iPad no matter what :).

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