How to Set Up Orientation Lock on a Per-App Basis on Android

How to Setup Per App Orientation Lock on Android

One of the most annoying things ever when reading an article in Chrome or Pocket while you’re in bed is somehow auto-rotate kicking in and the whole UI turning to landscape mode. By the time you’ve done the little dance to bring it back to portrait mode, you’ve lost the last reading position, plus you’re frustrated.

Yes, you can just pull down the notification shade and disable autorotate. But you know what happens then?

Everything is stuck to portrait. And, of course, you forget about it until you go to YouTube or VLC to watch a movie. It’s safe to say that the auto-rotate feature in Android is broken.

But this is Android, after all. It would be a shame to not take advantage of the open nature of Android that allows users to control system level functionality – like the rotation lock.

Now there’s a simple app that will let you set rotation lock preferences (unique portrait or landscape options) on a per app basis.

How to Set Up Swivel

The app in question is called Swivel; it costs $0.99 in the Play Store, and so far my experience with it has been good.

The app takes advantage of Android accessibility features, so when you first launch the app, you’ll have to tap the “Start” button. You’ll then be taken to the “Accessibility” page where you’ll need to find “Swivel” and turn it on.


Now come back to the app to set up orientation lock on a per-app basis.

How to Use Swivel

Swivel is nothing more than an alphabetic list of all the apps you have installed. On the left side of each app is a circle icon. Tap it and it will change the icon to state a different mode. All in all, an app can have one of eight modes. You can view what each mode means by tapping the “?” icon in the top right.

But you don’t need to worry about all the modes. All you need to do is tap the circle once to enable the Portrait Lock. This will show an icon for a phone in portrait mode with a lock symbol in it.


Keep tapping and you’ll get to an icon that shows the phone in landscape mode with the lock symbol in it.

These two are of course the symbols for a permanent portrait and landscape lock for a particular app.

Other modes include the default, normal portrait/landscape mode, inverted portrait/landscape mode and a freestyle mode, depending on how you’re holding your phone. To view a detailed description of each mode, check out the app’s description in Play Store.


Which Apps Did You Customize?

I went with reading apps like Pocket, Chrome and media apps like VLC and YouTube. What about you? Which annoying app did you put to bed using Swivel? Share with us in the comments below.

Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak

Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer. He's always trying out new apps, tools and services. He is platform agnostic. You'll find an iPhone 5 and a OnePlus One on him at (almost) all times.

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