What to Do When Your iPad Won't Rotate

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

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.

Frustrated person seeing the rotation lock icon on their iPad
Lifewire / Colleen Tighe 

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. Open the Settings app on your iPad.

    Screenshot of an iPad home screen with the Settings icon highlighted
  2. Select the General heading in the left pane.

    A screenshot of iPad settings with the General heading highlighted
  3. Find 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.

    The "Use Side Switch To" options in iPad settings
  4. 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.

How to Toggle Screen Rotation On and Off in Control Center

You can access many iPad features and settings 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.

    A screenshot of an iPad with an arrow indicating swiping to open the Control Center
  2. In Control Center, locate the Lock Rotation icon. It's 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.

    The Rotation Lock button in Control Center
  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, 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?

Another reason your iPad won't rotate is if it doesn't know you're trying to rotate it. This issue will happen if you aren't holding the tablet upright. Rotating it on a flat surface isn't enough to trigger it, so you might have to hold it up as if you're taking a picture, and then rotate.

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

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