What to do when your iPad won’t turn

One of the best features of the iPad is the ability to rotate the screen when you rotate the device. This allows you to seamlessly go from browsing the web in portrait mode to watching a movie in landscape mode. So when this auto-rotate feature stops working, it can get frustrating. But don’t worry, this is an easy issue to fix.

First, not all

apps have the ability to rotate the screen, so from within an app, click the iPad Home button to get to the home screen and try rotating the device. If it spins, you know it was the app, not the iPad.

If your iPad still won’t rotate, it might be locked in its current orientation. We can fix this by going to the iPad Control Center.

  1. For iOS 12 and later, swipe down from the top right corner of the iPad screen (in any rotation).

    For earlier versions of iOS: Slide your finger from the bottom edge of the iPad to the top of the iPad. Your finger should start where the screen meets the bezel, just above the Home button. You should see the control panel appear long before you reach the halfway mark.

    Rotation lock inactive.

  2. In Control Center, look for the Lock Rotation button . It should be the last icon in the row of radio buttons that start with an airplane icon. The lock rotate icon has a circular arrow around the lock. If this button is highlighted, tap on it to disable rotation lock.

    Rotation lock active.

  3. You should now be able to rotate the iPad, but you can’t with the control panel open. You can close the control panel by swiping down from the top of the control panel with one finger or (2) pressing the iPad Home button .

Having trouble getting the control panel to appear?

If you have an older iPad, you may not have updated the operating system to the latest version. You can make sure you’re on the latest version of the iOS operating system by following these instructions to update your iPad.

If you have the original iPad, you won’t be able to update to the latest version of the operating system. The first iPad just isn’t powerful enough to run the new versions of the iPad’s iOS operating system. But there are a few things we can try to get the rotation working again.

  1. First, locate the volume buttons on the side of the iPad. Next to these buttons is a switch that can lock the position of the screen. Once you flip this switch , you should be able to rotate the iPad. (An arrow pointing in a circle will appear on the screen when you press the switch.)
  2. If this doesn’t work, the side switch can be set to mute the device instead of locking screen rotation. You’ll know this because a speaker icon with a line through it may have appeared when you pressed the switch. If this happens, tap the switch again to unmute your iPad.
  3. We’ll need to change the behavior of the side switch, so let’s go to the iPad settings. This is the icon with the gears turning. (Get help opening iPad Settings.)
  4. On the left side of the screen is a list of configuration categories. Tap General .
  5. On the right side of the screen is a parameter called Use Side Switch to; Change the setting to Lock Rotation. (Get help changing the behavior of the side switch.)
  6. Exit Settings by pressing the Home button.
  7. Turn the side switch back on . Your iPad should start spinning.

Still having trouble with your iPad not turning?

The next two steps to fix the problem are to restart the iPad, which usually fixes most issues, and if that doesn’t work, you would need to reset the iPad to its factory default settings. This erases the data on the iPad, so make sure you have a backup before trying it. You may not feel that it is worth going through such a drastic measure just to unlock guidance.