The iPhone has an orientation lock that can prevent the screen from rotating. This is a setting that has been present on nearly every model of iPhone and version of iOS. When the orientation lock is not enabled, your iPhone will rotate between portrait and landscape orientation based on how the device is being help. By enabling the portrait orientation lock, you can prevent the iPhone from ever flipping to landscape orientation.
However, if you did not enable the orientation lock yourself, or if you did it by accident, then the fact that the iPhone’s screen isn’t rotating can be a little frustrating. Our tutorial below will show you where to find the orientation lock so that you can turn it off.
How to Fix an iPhone 5 Screen That Won’t Rotate
The steps in this article were performed on an iPhone 5, in iOS 9.3. These steps will also work for other iPhone models using iOS 9 as well.
Step 1: Swipe up from the bottom of the Home screen.
Step 2: Tap the lock icon button at the top-right of the Control Center. If the button is white, then the screen won’t rotate. If the button is gray, then the screen will rotate. The iPhone screen in the image below is able to rotate.
Additional Notes on why an iPhone Screen Might Not Rotate
- The Home screens (the ones with all of your app icons) will only rotate on the Plus iPhone models, such as the iPhone 6 Plus, and the iOS 6S Plus.
- Some apps will lock the screen in place, regardless of your screen orientation lock settings.
- You can perform a quick check to see if orientation lock is enabled by looking in the status bar at the top of the screen. If you see a padlock with an arrow around it, then orientation lock is enabled, and your iPhone screen will not rotate.
- If your screen orientation is not locked, and you are unable to rotate the screen, then try restarting the phone. This is accomplished by holding down the power button until a Slide to power off icon appears, then swiping that slider to the right. After a minute or two, turn the iPhone back on and see if the screen will rotate. If not, then there may be a problem with the device’s accelerometer, and you should consider taking it to an Apple Store.
Gary Thompson has been in IT consulting since the mid 2000s, and enjoys writing about mobile devices and computers. His primary topics of interest include iPhones and Windows, but he has written about many other devices and applications.