What to Do When Your iPad Won't Rotate

Toggle the orientation lock to keep your screen facing the right direction

Frustrated person seeing the rotation lock icon on their iPad

Lifewire / Colleen Tighe

The iPad supports screen rotation as you turn the device. This feature helps you to seamlessly change from reading an e-book in portrait mode to watching a movie in landscape mode. If your iPad isn't rotating and is stuck in one orientation, you can fix the problem in one of two ways: in Control Center or with the side switch.

The information in this article applies to iPads running iOS 12 or later, except as indicated. Earlier versions of Control Center, beginning with its introduction in iOS 7, work similarly.

The side switch on the iPad controls either rotate or mute, depending on how you configure the settings. Whichever one you don't assign to the side switch appears in Control Center where you can turn it on and off.

Some iPads, including iPad Pro models don't have a side switch. These iPads have both Lock Rotation and Mute in their Control Centers.

Assigning Rotation and Mute in iPad Settings

If your iPad has a side switch, check to see where the iPad's Lock Rotation setting has been assigned.

  1. Tap the Settings app on your iPad and select General in the left panel.

  2. In the General settings main screen, go to the Use Side Switch To section. If Lock Rotation has a check mark next to it, the side switch controls the lock rotation (and the Mute option appears in Control Center). If your iPad doesn't rotate, toggle the side switch to solve the problem.

    General Settings screen on iPad
  3. If Mute has a check mark next to it in the Use Side Switch To section, then the side switch mutes the iPad, and the Lock Rotation option appears in Control Center. Exit Settings and go to Control Center.

    General Settings showing Mute option for side switch

Toggling Screen Rotation On and Off in Control Center

Many iPad features are controlled from the customizable Control Center, including the Lock Rotation feature.

  1. Pull down from the upper-right corner of an iPad running iOS 12 or later (or up from the bottom on iPads running earlier versions of the iOS) to open Control Center.

  2. In Control Center, locate the Lock Rotation icon. It is a circular arrow around a lock. If the lock and circular arrow are red, lock rotation is turned on, and the iPad screen can't rotate.

    Control Center showing lock rotation is turned on
  3. Tap the Lock Rotation icon to toggle off the rotation lock so the iPad screen can rotate.

You can't rotate the screen with Control Center open. Close Control Center by either flicking it up off the screen in iOS 12 and later (or down in earlier iOS versions) or by pressing the iPad's Home button.

The Problem May Be With an App

Not all iPad apps support orientation changes, so if the screen doesn't rotate inside an app, click the iPad's Home button to reach the main screen and then try turning the device. If the screen rotates, you know it was the app, not the iPad, that prevented the rotation. There's nothing you can do about this.

Still Having Problems With Your iPad Not Rotating?

If all else fails, reboot the iPad by turning it off and then back on. This simple approach fixes many problems.