How to Set Orientation Lock on iPhone on a per App Basis

What to Know

  • Orientation Lock keeps your iPhone screen in portrait orientation even whenn the phone is turned sideways.
  • You can set up an automation with Shortcuts to make it so that Orientation Lock switches off for specific apps.

Orientation Lock is great for ensuring your phone screen stays in portrait orientation even when, for example, you want to use your device when lying down. However, there are some apps where you might not want your screen to stay in portrait, such as YouTube or the Photos app. Find out how to ensure Orientation Lock turns off when you use certain apps.

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What Is Portrait Orientation Lock?

So what is Portrait Orientation Lock on iPhone? Portrait Orientation refers to when your phone is upright, while Landscape Orientation is when your phone is sideways. Portrait Orientation Lock is when your device is locked to Portrait Orientation. This way, your phone stays oriented correctly even if you were to lie down on your side.

This is useful if you’re scrolling through social media apps or texting a friend, but if you want to watch a YouTube video, your iPhone won’t automatically rotate the video for you when you turn your device sideways. So how do you change auto rotation on iPhone per app? Let’s find out.

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How to Rotate Screen on iPhone

If you are wondering how to unlock screen rotation on the iPhone, look no further. For more hidden iPhone shortcuts and tricks, check out our free Tip of the Day newsletter. Now, here’s how to rotate the screen on your iPhone based on which app you have open:

  1. Open the Shortcuts app.

    iphone spotlight search with a red box around shortcuts app
  2. Tap Automation.

    iphone shortcuts app with a red box around automations tab at the bottom of the screen
  3. Tap New Automation if you haven’t created one before. If you have other automations, there will be a plus icon in the upper right that you can tap instead.

    iphone shortcuts app automations tab with a red box around new automation
  4. Scroll down and select App.

    iphone shortcuts automation set up with a red box around app option
  5. Tap Choose.

    iphone shortcuts app automation set up with a red box around choose button
  6. Scroll through the list of apps (or use the Search Bar) to find the app(s) you want to use for this automation. For this example, I’m using YouTube. You can select more than one.

    iphone shortcuts app automation set up displaying a list of apps with a red box around youtube app
  7. Once you’ve selected your app(s), tap Done.

    iphone shortcuts app automation set up displaying apps with a red box around done button
  8. Make sure both Is Opened and Is Closed are selected.

    iphone shortcuts app automation set up with a red box around is opened and is closed options
  9. Tap Run Immediately so that this automation can run unprompted any time this app is open or closed.

    iphone shortcuts app automation set up with a red box around run immediately button
  10. You can enable a toggle that will send you a notification every time this automation is run. However, I prefer to leave this off, as the notification can get a bit annoying if you’re switching between two apps frequently.

    iphone shortcuts app automation set up with a red box around notify when run toggle
  11. Tap Next.

    iphone shortcuts app automation set up with a red box around next button
  12. Tap Set Orientation Lock under the Get Started header. If you do not see this option, tap the Search Bar and type, “Orientation.”

    iphone shortcuts app automation set up with a red box around set orientation lock option
  13. Tap Done.

    iphone shortcuts app automation set up with a red box around done button

Now, any time you open the selected app, Orientation Lock will turn off automatically, so that you can rotate your device any way that you want. Then, when you return to your Home Screen or switch to a different app, Orientation Lock will be re-enabled. You can also use Back Tap to change your iPhone screen rotation.


  • Why do some apps not rotate on my iPad and iPhone? Not all apps can rotate to landscape mode. Some apps only have a portrait orientation. If your iPhone won't rotate and the lock is off, it’s likely that the app does not support landscape orientation.
  • Can you rotate photos and videos on the iPhone? Yes, you can rotate photos and videos. We have helpful guides on how to rotate a photo on iPhone and how to rotate videos on iPhone using the built-in iPhone photo editor.
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Author Details

Rhett Intriago's picture

Author Details

Rhett Intriago

Rhett Intriago is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, offering his expertise in all things iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. He enjoys writing on topics related to maintaining privacy in a digital world, as well as iPhone security. He’s been a tech enthusiast all his life, with experiences ranging from jailbreaking his iPhone to building his own gaming PC.

Despite his disdain for the beach, Rhett is based in Florida. In his free time, he enjoys playing the latest games, spoiling his cats, or discovering new places with his wife, Kyla.