I’ve expressed my annoyance for the way that orientation locks work (or rather don’t work) on tablets, especially Android, before. Turns out that the solution is very simply, at least on Android. There seem to be several apps out there that addressed this, and the one I picked to test out worked so well that I didn’t look any further. Rotation Control (and, I assume, similar apps) is a normal (no root required) app that lets you specify how you want the auto rotate feature to work. You can force lock it to a specific direction, disable any force locks (use the default method), or – and this is the one I use – use forced auto rotate.
What that does is force any and all apps to stick to whatever orientation you’re holding the tablet in. It doesn’t matter how much the app requires landscape, if you’re holding the device in portrait mode, the app only gets to be in portrait mode. I smile every time I see a “broken” app displaying in an orientation it isn’t designed for, simply because it reminds me that I’m in control now. Of course the apps will be just as usable as before once you turn the tablet to the proper orientation, the point here is just to let you decide when the rotation happens.
The app is $2, with a 7 day free trial if you download the demo. There might be other, cheaper solutions out there too, but I didn’t bother to look further once I found this. It’s a big plus that it doesn’t require root, though actually not surprising since it likely just runs in the background and prompts an orientation requirement similar to what normally causes apps to rotate on their own. Either way, it works great. Being able to decide when and if my tablet should be held in portrait or landscape is in my opinion an obvious feature, but unfortunately neither Google nor Apple seems to agree.
Oh, and if you wondered what the main image is all about, that’s how Cut the Rope – an otherwise portrait-only game – looks when you force it into landscape.