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Yes, the Nexus 7 has Auto-Rotate – Just Not From the Home Screen

When your Nexus 7 arrives this week, try not to freak out that it sits in portrait mode and won’t rotate to landscape from the home screen. The device was built to be a portrait tablet, just look at the back side and the front facing camera location. Think of the home screen UI as if it were a phone and not a two-hand holding tablet. It was created for media consumption that includes reading books, browsing the web, etc., things you would all do from a portrait view for the most part. If you want to go landscape though (outside of the home screen) to watch a movie, you can, just by rotating your device. It is really no different than your phone.

If you notice that the device isn’t rotating, feel free to pull the notification bar down and hit the rectangular icon with the two arrows around it. Actually, if it’s not rotating, it’s probably showing up as a lock with two arrows around it. In order to get your device to rotate, it needs to have the box with arrows.

And if you have to have the landscape tablet experience while on the home screen, there is a hack for that. Or you could install a third party launcher.

  • Sawdusty

    Hi all,
    My new Nexus 7 does not have the auto-rotate symbol in the notification bar. What now?

  • Sawdusty

    Hi All.
    I have a shiny new Nexus 7 and was concerned about auto rotate as well. On mine, there is no rotate icon on the notification bar. What now?

  • Hal

    Google sent a 4.2 update today which is now 4.2.1. The little arrows in the notification pull down screen are gone. There is nothing but a three line symbol to clear all notifications. So does anyone know now, after the update today how to rotate the Nexus 7 screen?

  • Jed Mitchener

    Of course, the whole “To Auto-Rotate, or Not to Auto-Rotate” discussion becomes a joke once you add your first additional user. I added my wife Day 1, and her profile has no problem Auto-Rotating even the home screen. I’m content to live with the portrait-only mode for now. I just wish they wouldn’t spew such BS to rationalize this implementation flaw, because it clearly works just fine without any hacks whatsoever. You just need to set your profile as anything BUT the initial user. Very irritating…

  • I have the 32gb nexus and my home screen will rotate….

  • Ravi

    My Nexus 7 tablet does not show lock icon on notification panel…I do have latest update and everything. Am I missing something?

  • Donna

    Finally someone that knows about the rotation feature. I have searched all over the internet and everyone said you had to download an app for this. Thanks so much for the info. It was a great help!

  • TimJM
  • TimJM

    This is so damn stupid! I’m left handed, case is right handed. It would be just fine if I could just rotate the screen 180 degrees. Yes, I know the seldom used camera would be on the bottom. I’d live. Think they could have added this to the accessibility menu or something.

  • Dumbest “Feature” I have ever seen

  • Raven

    I run my 7″ Acer A100 in landscape 99% of the time and after spending
    yesterday playing with my new Nexus 7 I am already annoyed by the
    enforced desktop portrait mode. It might have something to do with the new notification pull down, but I don’t like it. After using ICS on my 7″ A100 for the last several months this really feels like a major regression to me. I was going to leave it stock for a while, but this may be my first reason to root it (aside from really wanting to restore some Titanium backups as well).

  • Great feature … but it scared the heck out of me that it was set not to rotate when I unboxed it. I wonder if it synced with my GNex phone, which has auto-rotate off? Anyway, I love this unit. And I was lucky: caught it on Staples on Sat 7/14, ordered (free ship) before it was out of stock, and received it today. There goes my evening.

  • scottyfromga

    I noticed this issue when I put the 4.1.1 rom on my Fire….but quickly seen how to correct it and all was well. I see no issue with this.

  • Stinker

    Much easier to just install a 3rd party launcher that rotates.

  • EvanTheGamer

    EDIT: Err…never mind, Kellex pointed this feature out, whoops! My mistake! I should really learn how to read one of these days.

    Also, on the Notification bar, you can lock/unlock Rotate mode any time you want. Pretty damn nifty.

    • Haha, that’s kind of the point of this entire article.

      • EvanTheGamer

        Yeah, sure is! Doh!

  • dcvolcom909

    Has anyone tried Nova Launcher’s rotate feature? It works great on my Galaxy Nexus home screen! Just seems easier than the hack.. but it is a nexus tablet so i guess hacking is half the fun right?

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Is NOVA ready for JB?

      • dcvolcom909

        It works on my JB ROM that was built off the developer preview nandroid backup.. not sure if that’s the same thing (I’m new to the rooting world)

        • It works on AOSP builds as well (running BB on my Gnex now)

    • aheiden82

      Nova works perfect on my stock nex 7

  • EvanTheGamer

    Yep…just like a giant Galaxy Nexus.

    • Have you pulled down the notification bar while in landscape? it acts super funky. Like, you can’t really swipe it back up. The touch area needs to be adjusted or something.

      • EvanTheGamer

        Hmm…strange, just went into Landscape with Chrome open, and was able to pull down the notification and pull it back up again with no issues. It is a smaller version though(doesn’t fill the entire screen, which does seem kinda weird to me).

      • ricky siebold

        i’m not having that issue at all. maybe a reboot?

      • Ryan Powell

        I had it stick on me when Chrome was in landscape once but couldn’t get it to consistently do it. Had to click off to the side to get it to go away.

    • And what’s wrong with that? The Gnex is perfect as is JB, but what if you wanted a bigger screen? Boom…..Nexus 7.

      • EvanTheGamer

        Oh no…nothing wrong with it, not what I meant..lol..just saying, it’s kind of like a giant super fast G-Nex with ALL the bells and whistles.

        • You got it. That’s actually why I’m not going to buy one. Both the Gnex and the N7 are perfect (to me anyway) and very similar but I just don’t need the bigger screen.

          • EvanTheGamer

            Well, you’re missing out then. Also, did you miss the part where I said it’s “SUPER FAST?”..forget the bigger screen, Tegra 3 baby! Hey, just sayin’ though.

            And besides that, a tablet THIS AWESOME for $250 is a hell of a steal! Forget all other tablets at this price, the Nexus 7 is where it’s at!

          • Oh, I hear ya. I want one SO BAD! But I just can’t justify it, even at $200. I don’t play games and the Gnex is also WAY fast running JB.

          • EvanTheGamer

            Yeah, exactly, right…the Nexus 7 is incredible for playing games and since I’m a gamer, I guess it fits. But you can do a whole bunch more though with the N7. Just downloaded Dead Trigger on it, but haven’t played it yet.

            BUY ONE, you know you want to! haha

            Also, I still need to get Jelly Bean on my G-Nex, have just been a bit lazy as of late and haven’t gotten around to it yet, but soon!

    • nsnsmj

      The UI on the Nexus 7 (and presumably other small tablets running JB) is actually more of a hybrid. It’s not just the phone UI.

  • paul_cus

    Good to know.

  • hopefully google will update it to include rotate from the home screen

  • Just played with my friend’s N7. The one thing I think they did totally wrong is when you rotate the screen to landscape, the nav buttons (back, home, and app switcher) are all along the bottom instead of the side like they are on the Gnex. That is a huge pain. It’s much easier to hit those buttons with your thumb when they’re on the right side. They’re harder to get to and take up precious vertical real estate when they’re on the bottom.

    Also, I don’t know if it’s the higher DPI or the Super AMOLED, but the Gnex’s screen looks much nicer than the N7’s. That’s not to say the N7’s screen isn’t gorgeous. It absolutely is, it just doesn’t have the same wow factor.

    • ArmanUV

      That actually makes a lot of sense, especially on 16:9 small tablets like Nexus 7.
      I’m sure xda/rootz devs will do something about that soon.

      • Of course it makes sense, that’s how they designed it. Why they changed it for a tablet is beyond me.

        • ArmanUV

          They didn’t “change” it. Nexus 7 UI is a hybrid of the old ICS phone mode and tablet mode. They used the separate nav bar and status bar for this mode, but used the orientation-based nav bar from the tablet ICS mode. Every other android tablet operates the same way.

          • What other Android tablet has the notification bar on the top and the nav buttons in the center bottom in landscape ? Can you show me a screenshot?

          • Tyler Chappell

            He was saying that other ICS tablets still use the bar along the bottom when in landscape mode, only difference being that the buttons are on the left rather than centered. You won’t find any ICS tablet where the nav buttons are on the right-hand side regardless of whether its 7″ or 10″.

          • I don’t think you are understanding me.

            There are 2 good options for landscape:

            Good option 1: Nav buttons on the bottom left, notification on the bottom right. This is how Honeycomb and ICS does it and I think this is how JB will do it on 10″ tablets.

            Good option 2: Nav buttons on the right (not bottom right, but vertically lined up along the right side of the screen), notification on the top. This is how the Gnex does it.

            There is one bad option (which is how the N7 currently does it):

            Bad option: Nav buttons at the bottom center, notification on the top. Not only does having the nav buttons in the center make them hard to reach, but now both your nav buttons and nofication drawer are eating up vertical space separately (one black bar at the top and one at the bottom), rather than together (only one black bar on the bottom).

          • Tyler Chappell

            No I understood you perfectly. Google wouldn’t have chosen this way for no reason. If anything, it’s probably much more ambidextrous.

          • I agree with you wholeheartedly. Google, please move the nav buttons to the right side. They look gaudy on the botttom in landscape.

    • angermeans

      The reason for this is simple. The Galaxy Nexus has a 1280×720 display and a 4.65 inch display while the Nexus 7 has a 1280×800 display (pretty close to the same resolution) on a 7 inch display. That means that the pixel density is much higher on the Galaxy Nexus (316 pixels per sq inch) then the Nexus 7 (216 pixels per sq inch). That is one reason the other is the Galaxy Nexus has a Super AMOLED HD display (found on mostly Samsung devices) while the Nexus 7 has an IPS display (much like Apple, ASUS, some HTC etc). I won’t spend the time to detail the differences and will leave that up to you, but the reason the Galaxy Nexus “pops” is SAMOLED displays have truer blacks and higher contrasted colors while IPS (in plane switching) have truer colors. I persally like the IPS and LCD displays more as they seem to look more natural especially when yo don’t have to deal with the pentile pixel arrangement on the Galaxy Nexus and it makes wording and such very jaggy.

      • Higher DPI onthe pentile makes font actually look MUCH better than the lower DPI on the N7’s IPS.

  • hopefully google will update it to include it to do both from the home screen

  • EC8CH

    Has anyone received the case from Google yet? I’m wondering if it has a magnet built in to put the screen to sleep. I am also wondering if that’s what’s holding up my per order.

    • I think the cases have been delayed. In the store, you have to sign up to receive them. There is also this theory that anyone who orded a case on day 1, has yet to even receive their tablet.

      • I ordered a 16gb N7 and case on day one and haven’t heard a peep from Google since, so, yeah.

      • EvanTheGamer

        You could have ordered a case from Google? Interesting…didn’t know that. I ordered one from Amazon but may not get it until next week, so I bought a temporary Galaxy Tab case for my N7 while I’m waiting. It definitely does the trick.

      • EC8CH

        They had better do a split shipment if that’s the case, because holding up our tablet orders just because they don’t have the cases ready yet is crazy.

    • The case is still listed as “Coming Soon” in the Play Store.

    • jeesung

      i ordered on July 2nd and ordering the case wan’t an option. it was visible, but not orderable.

    • At least one person has supposedly received it and did a review on XDA

      • EC8CH

        thanks for the link man!

  • DroidLife – Always here to help.

  • Sebastian Encina

    The Galaxy Nexus doesn’t rotate on the home screen either, which is a little weird when you have it in the position already. But definitely not a deal breaker

    • shmigga

      No Android phones rotate from the home screen unless you have a third party launcher or some type of app installed to force it to. Phones with physical keyboards rotate when the keyboard is open. I think people are just assuming it would because it does on 10 inch and other 7 inch tabs.

      • EC8CH

        OG droid would go to landscape on the stock homescreen if the keyboard was opened, so stock android has the ability. Wish they would just create a settings option to allow homescreen landscape rotation.

      • jeesung

        razr rotates, but only when docked.