Fix Apple iPhone SE Screen Rotation Not Working

The iPhone SE or Apple’s 4-inch special edition iPhone is by far the smallest yet most powerful iPhone to-date. It inherits the key features and specs entrenched into the previous models — iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Screen Rotation Not Working

Many people found the iPhone SE more comfortable to use than the larger iPhones considering its small screen size and that all four corners of the display can be thumb-tapped by either left or right hand. And this is probably the main reason as to why the iPhone SE does not support screen rotation function for the Home screen. This means that the Home screen stays in a single display mode — Portrait View.

For those who are not yet aware of it, there is no need to worry if your iPhone SE’s Home screen won’t rotate or switch from Portrait to Landscape mode. While this may not be a big deal to some people, others found this missing feature a bummer and an indication of poor physical design implementation. Nevertheless, it is designed to work that way so end-users really have no choice but to acclimatize with the display interface. But that only applies to the Home screen.

If you are having trouble switching between portrait and landscape views on other screens like when using apps or viewing other pages on the iPhone SE, then it likely implies a problem that needs to be fixed. You may try to fix the problem using any of the suggested workarounds below this page. Read on to have some clues on how to deal with this issue on your iPhone.

What can possibly cause screen rotation problems on the iPhone SE?

To determine whether or not your iPhone screen orientation is working as it should, you can try to hold your device in either ways — vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape). Your iPhone is portrait when you hold it upright and landscape when it is on its side.

Aside from the Home screen, there are also other apps and contents that only works or stuck on  a single screen orientation. For example, some apps can only be viewed in portrait while others in landscape. In that case, there is no need to worry because that is how the app was designed to work. However, if screen rotation does not work on all apps or contents then it is already a different story.

Your iPhone screen can be stuck on either portrait or landscape mode due to several reasons. Among the possible triggers would include but not limited to the following factors:

Apps Malfunction

Just like computer programs, mobile apps and contents can become rogue sometimes for some reasons. When an app goes rogue, it may not work properly as it should. In most cases, an app can become very sluggish, freezes, or crashes unexpectedly. Other apps in this state would become unresponsive to touches or gesture inputs like switching positions from portrait or landscape. An application likely gets into this state if it becomes corrupted or has glitches. There are also other cases in which similar symptoms have been associated with low or insufficient memory storage on the device.

Incorrect Display Settings Configuration

Making changes to your phone settings particularly on the display settings incorrectly can also result to similar problems. There are also some apps which require users to manually configure certain settings or options so as to enable screen mode switches from portrait to landscape and vice versa. Most apps are set to portrait mode by default, which users can change if they don’t like it that way. On the iPhone, screen rotation issues can usually be dealt with by making necessary configurations on the orientation lock or screen rotation option.

Defective or damaged accelerometer or gyroscope

Accelerometer and gyroscope sensors on the iPhones are basically designed to serve as motion and direction sensors. Both components work hand in hand. The accelerometer detects motion and gyroscope determines direction. If either of these components failed to function due to some glitches or defects, screen rotation issues usually instigate. This is likely the case if your iPhone refuses to switch between display orientations even if the screen rotation option is enabled or activated on the device settings.

Bad updates

Software updates can contain some bugs or glitches that can affect a device’s normal functions upon implementation. This is inevitable because every user has configured their respective devices as they would prefer. In fact, owners who don’t prefer factory defaults would immediately make changes on the settings a moment after acquiring their new phone. Before officially releasing updates, developers conduct a series of tests so as to eliminate inconsistencies as much as possible. But bad outputs still surface upon implementation due to incompatible system structure based on how users configured their own devices.

Hardware damage

Hard fall and liquid exposure can damage any of the iPhone components including those within the display circuit board. Symptoms can occur immediately or later. Unfortunately, iPhone screen problems including issues on screen rotation due to hardware damage would already require service or tech repair in order to get fixed.

Possible Solutions and Workarounds to deal with screen rotation/orientation problems on the iPhone SE

Highlighted below are a few recommended workarounds and potential solutions to address problems on screen rotation or display orientation on the iPhone SE handset. You can give any of these methods a try before taking your device to a technician for hardware assessment and/or repair.

Method 1: Reboot or soft reset

Software-related issues are often resolved by a simple reboot. Minor software glitches do occur randomly in mobile devices, inflicting certain apps to malfunction. It’s the same thing that happens to computer programs especially when files get corrupted. As first resolution, you can try quitting or closing the faulty app and then re-open it. Restarting the app can also eliminate minor glitches that might have affected certain app’s function. For example, if the screen won’t rotate only when using certain apps, then you can try to quit or force the app to close and then re-open it. If doing so won’t fix the problem, then you may proceed on giving a soft reset a try. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake (Power) button until the red slider appears.
  • Drag the slider to power off your iPhone completely.
  • Wait for at least 30 seconds then press and hold the Power button again until the Apple logo appears.

Your device will then reboot. After the reboot is complete, try to open the app again and see if screen rotation is already working fine on that app.

Alternatively, you can force your iPhone to restart if screen rotation is not working and it’s freezing or not responding.

  • To force restart, just press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button simultaneously for at least 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.

Your iPhone will then reboot and should work fine afterwards.

Method 2: Calibrate the gyroscope

In time, motion sensors need to be recalibrated to maintain proper functionality. This might be the only thing you need to get your iPhone’s gyroscope or accelerometer to work perfectly fine again. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Reboot your iPhone. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake (Power) button until the device powers off completely.
  • After a few seconds, turn your iPhone back on by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.
  • After the reboot  is complete, press the Home button to launch the Home screen.
  • Locate the Compass app and open it. The app is usually located in the Extras folder or Apps screen. Once you found the Compass app, open it.
  • You’ll be prompted with the calibrate screen. This is where you can start calibrating the gyroscope on your iPhone SE. If you don’t see the Calibrate Screen, double-tap on the Home screen and then search Compass. Force close the Compass app and then restart your iPhone. After the restart, open the Compass again.
  • On the Calibrate Screen, tilt the screen to roll the red ball around the circle. Continue the process until the calibration is finished.

Once the calibration is done, the Compass app launches. This means that you already have successfully calibrated the gyroscope. Now, you can go back to the app in which you are having trouble with screen rotation or motion sensors.

Method 3: Verify or configure display settings

If screen rotation is not working on all applications, it is possible that screen rotation feature is disabled or turned off on the device. To rule out this possibility, verify and ensure that this feature is enabled. This denotes a need for you to go to the display settings and configure the lock screen option, if necessary.

The Lock Screen option can be turned on or off depending on your preference. Some users just don’t want their iPhone to switch screen modes every time they change position so they would opt to activate Lock screen option. Doing so will keep their device stay in one screen orientation (portrait mode) even when held sideways.

To access this settings option, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Home screen.
  • Swipe up from the bottom of the Home screen to open the Control Center.
  • Once you’re in the Control Center, locate the Lock Screen or Portrait Orientation Lock icon. The icon looks like a tiny lock inside a circular arrow that is located next to the battery icon.
  • Tap the icon to disable it and enable screen rotation function on your device.

Once disabled or turned off, your iPhone should then switch between portrait and landscape orientations depending on how it’s positioned.

Method 4: Update iOS to the latest version available

Software issues triggered by software bugs are often get fixed by a software update. Aside from the software optimization and new features, software updates also contain bug fixes. So if you haven’t updated your iPhone iOS yet, then you might as well consider doing it this time.

  • To check for available updates for your iPhone head over to Settings-> General-> About-> Software Updates. You will see a notice if an update is available. To proceed with the iOS update implementation, select the option to Download and Install, then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

Note: Backup your iPhone before installing the update. You can backup your device through iTunes or iCloud.

Method 5: Wipe your iPhone (Factory Reset)

This should be your last resort if none of the suggested workarounds is able to fix the problem and that your iPhone SE screen rotation is still not working. The process will erase everything on your device including all your personal information and restore it to factory defaults. All bugs and software glitches affecting the system functions will also be eradicated in the process. After the reset, your iPhone is restored to its factory defaults and you need to set it up as new.

You may opt to do a factory reset using iTunes or your iPhone settings. A computer with the latest iTunes version installed is required should you go for the first option. If you want to wipe your iPhone or do a factory reset through the iPhone settings, follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap General.
  • Select the option to Reset.
  • If prompted, enter your Apple ID and password.
  • Tap Reset Device.
  • Select Delete All.
  • Wait the iPhone to complete the factory reset.

Once the reset is finished, your iPhone will reboot.

The entire process can take longer depending on the number of contents stored on your device.

More Hints:

Some apps just don’t have the option for landscape orientation. So be sure to check if the app you are having issues with screen orientation supports both portrait and landscape modes. For example, the Settings app only supports portrait mode. Other third-party apps also work the same. But most apps for browsing and gaming purposes are designed to work in both modes.

Another thing you can try on is setting the Display Zoom to standard.

  • To do so, go to Settings-> Display & Brightness-> Display Zoom-> then select Standard from the given options. Reboot your iPhone and then see if screen rotation is already working properly.

Seek More Help

If the iPhone screen rotation problem persists after performing all possible solutions and workarounds on your end, then at this point you should contact Apple Support for problem escalation and further assistance. It is also worth considering the possibility of hardware damage causing screen orientation problems on your iPhone SE. In this case, you may opt to take your iPhone straight to an authorized service center for hardware assessment and repair, if needed.

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