I have noticed that when switching between one mobile application to another, sometimes the orientation of the user interface changes so that I have to rotate the screen 180 degrees so that it is facing the right way. I assume that if the software or hardware recognizes the direction that the user is holding the device, or at least the orientation that the most recent application is set at, then it should not change the orientation.

This leads me to wondering if there is actually a default orientation for devices which is configured in the hardware, and if there is also some configuration of the software as well (and that they sometimes are configured to unintentionally clash).

Is there are default orientation in landscape view for mobile devices? And if so do they exist in hardware and/or software configurations?

3 Answers 3


On a hardware level there is no orientation set. They are firmware defined. Taking for example monitors for PC`s, you can change orientation from the monitor settings.

For mobile phones, the default orientation is defined by the operating system and for apps it uses the accelerometer to detect the position and change orientation according to it.

To answer your question, there are four types of landscape orientations that can be set in an app. SCREEN_ORIENTATION LANDSCAPE PORTRAIT _REVERSE_PORTRAIT _REVERSE_LANDSCAPE

When switching from an app to another, the hardware is reading the system information and thus the accelerometer that detects an orientation. In a buggy way it will try to rotate an app that has a landscape restriction and make it look deformed for a second or two until it reads the app preference and fixes the view.


Neither Apple nor Google does not advocate the use of a specific orientation for their devices as a default.

Material design only guides that layout should adjust to suit the screen size and orientation.

The iOS Human Interface Guidelines says:

If it’s essential that your app run in a single orientation, support both variants. An app that runs only in landscape mode should be usable regardless of whether the user rotates the device left or right. An app that runs only in portrait mode should rotate its content 180 degrees when the user rotates the device 180 degrees—except on iPhone X, which doesn’t support upside-down portrait mode. If your app doesn’t rotate automatically when someone holds the device in the wrong orientation, they’ll know instinctively to rotate it. You don’t need to tell them.

Customize your app’s response to rotation according to context. A game that lets people move a character by rotating the device, for example, probably shouldn’t switch orientations during gameplay. It could, however, display menus and intro sequences based on the current orientation.


Both iOS and Android use the readings of the accelerometer to define the current orientation if the auto-rotation option is on. If the auto-rotation is off, then user rotation is used instead.

On Android, the user rotation for the app can be set via USER_ROTATION variable. The possible values are:

USER_ROTATION: actual rotation, clockwise, 0 0°, 1 90°, 2 180°, 3 270°

It might mean that more preferred landscape rotation is 1, which is 90° clockwise.

On iOS, from Swift documentation (Swift is a programming language for iOS) user rotation values are listed in UIDeviceOrientation:

case landscapeLeft
The device is in landscape mode, with the device held upright and the home button on the right side.

case landscapeRight
The device is in landscape mode, with the device held upright and the home button on the left side.

Which may refer that more common orientation is landscapeLeft, because it has a lower value (3vs4).


It is based on what developer chose how the activity behavior. In manifest.xml file you can force the app to portrait or landscape or none of them, which is sensor! I didn't find any code to apply which landscape would force (clockwise or anticlockwise). It makes sense to be user preferences what landscape apply to activity. about the issue you are experiencing... I think if the activity lifecycle behave correct problem would be solved and if is in landscape orientation it would be sensor decision!

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