I always leave my iPhone portrait orientation lock on so my screen doesn’t randomly rotate while I’m lying down. However, there are certain apps that i To do turn it off for. It’s a bit annoying as you have to swipe through the Control Center and toggle the orientation lock on and off, but that ends now. Rather than doing it manually, a new iOS update can automate app orientations for you.
This feature is part of the latest beta for iOS 14.5, but will make its way to iPhones in the stable version of iOS 14.5 this spring.
Using the new orientation lock feature is unfortunately not as easy as enabling toggles for each app in Settings, but it can be set up through the Shortcuts app. So instead of having to swipe and tap every time you have to toggle the rotation lock on and off, the automation will do all the dirty work for you.
In this guide, we̵
You can easily choose any installed app you want and configure any automation to your liking, but know that there is no way to automate this at scale – the process must be done for any app you want to set custom orientation parameters for. However, it is well worth it in the end.
- iOS 14.5 beta 2 or higher: The feature is only available in iOS 14.5, which has not yet been released. If you want to try it out now, be sure to join the beta or public beta for developers and make sure you are using beta 2 or higher.
- Shortcuts app: Although this app is pre-installed in iOS 14, you may have uninstalled it. If it does, you can reinstall it for free from the App Store.
Step 1: Change the orientation lock when opening an app
First, we’ll create an automation in Shortcuts to change the orientation lock when you open an app.
As mentioned earlier, I usually have my Portrait Orientation Lock enabled. Still, I like that the orientation lock is turned off when using Twitter so I can easily watch videos in landscape mode. So I’m creating an automation that disables Portrait Orientation Lock when I enter Twitter. If you’ve always disabled Portrait Orientation Lock, you may want to enable it when you open reading apps, such as Apple News.
Launch the Shortcuts app and open the “Automation” tab at the bottom. Then tap on ‘Create Personal Automation’. If you’ve already set up one or more automations, tap the plus sign (+), then tap “Create Personal Automation.”
Now choose the action that activates your automation. In this case, you want the portrait orientation lock to change when you open a specific app, so choose the “App” option.
Then tap “Choose” and select the desired app from your list of installed apps. Make sure “Is Opened” is also checked, which should be the default. Click on “Next” to continue.
In the automation, tap “Add action” or the search bar at the bottom, then search for “Set Orientation Lock” and tap the action when it appears in the results.
Now you may want to configure the action for your automation. You can leave the action as ‘Enable / Disable Orientation Lock’ so that when you open the app, it will turn it on or off based on whether it was previously off or on. But this can get quite confusing.
To simplify things, tap “Swap” and then “Rotate” to change the action. Instead of the portrait orientation lock switch enable or disable when you open the app, the lock will be enabled or disabled depending on what you choose.
Now you have to choose to turn the orientation lock off or on. I want the portrait orientation lock to be turned off when I open Twitter, so I tap “On” to set it to “Off”.
Finally, click “Next” in the top right corner to finish creating the automation. You probably don’t want to be asked to run the automation every time it is triggered, so turn off “Ask Before Running” and tap “Don’t Ask” when it appears. Tap “Done” in the top right corner to finish everything.
Step 2: Change the orientation lock when closing an app
The last piece of the puzzle is to create one more automation that does the opposite of the first. So if you have the first to turn off Portrait Orientation Lock when you open the app, you’ll need an accompanying automation to turn Portrait Orientation Lock back on when the app closes. Likewise, if your first turns on portrait orientation lock, this second should turn it off.
This second automation is almost identical to the first, minus a few differences, so start a new automation just like you did in step 1. Make sure that ‘Is open’ is switched to ‘Is closed’ for each choice of the app. before pressing “Next.” This option works regardless of whether you close the app or force quit.
After adding an “Set Orientation Lock” action, switch it to “Enable Orientation Lock” or “Disable Orientation Lock” depending on how you set up the initial automation. In my case, I set the action to “On” because I want it to turn back on when I leave Twitter. Continue to create the automation and you will see both automations listed as active.
Step 3: Make sure your automation is working
Once your two automations are complete, you can test them by opening and closing the app you are setting up. Below is a GIF of what happens when I open and close Twitter. You can tell the automation is running when the Shortcuts notification appears at the top of the screen.
Unfortunately, there is no way to select multiple apps when creating each automation. If you want to adjust Portrait Orientation Lock for more than one app, you must create two separate automations for each app. Maybe one day Apple will give us an option to select multiple apps for a single automation, but until then there is a little more work to be done.
Step 4: turn off those annoying notifications (optional)
If you don’t want to see a notification every time you open or close the app or apps for which you’ve created automations, there’s an easy way to turn them off. It will turn off most other automation notifications, so if you’d like to see them for other automations, you may want to leave them on. If you want to make them disappear, you just need to turn them off in Screen Time.
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