JR Raphael

How to get landscape orientation on the Nexus 7 home screen

July 23, 2012 1:09 PM EDT

Nexus 7 Home Screen LandscapeGoogle's Nexus 7 tablet is making plenty of waves in the mobile world, but one quirk of the tablet has some owners scratching their heads:

The Nexus 7's home screen is designed to work only in portrait mode by default. In other words, if you turn your tablet horizontally, the home screen won't rotate with you.

To be clear, the portrait orientation is forced only with the Nexus 7's home screen -- you can let apps go into landscape mode by toggling the rotation-lock icon in the tablet's notification panel -- but what if you really want to use your home screen horizontally?

Fear not, my friends: Like all things in Android, where there's a will, there's a way.

The Nexus 7 landscape home screen secret

So what's the secret to getting your Nexus 7 home screen to work in landscape mode? It's actually quite easy:

1. Download Ultimate Rotation Control from the Google Play Store. (The main app is a seven-day trial; if you decide to use it beyond that first week, you'll have to pony up three bucks for a license.)

2. Open the app -- you'll find it in your app drawer under the name "Rotate" -- and change the "Current Rotation" setting to "Auto."

3. Return to your home screen and pull down your notification panel. You'll see an item there entitled "Rotate." Tap on it, then tap the button labeled "Global" at the bottom of the dialog box that appears (this will cause the button's text to change to "App Only"). Now just tap the option labeled "Forced Auto," and the dialog box will disappear.

Voilà -- you're done! Your Nexus 7 home screen will now rotate into landscape mode anytime you turn the device horizontally.

Nexus 7 Home Screen Landscape Orientation

A couple of quick pro tips:

• If you have any third-party apps that won't rotate into landscape mode -- like Flipboard, for example -- you can use this same trick to fix them up. Just open the app you want to adjust and then perform the same procedure detailed in step 3, only do it from the app itself instead of from your home screen.

• If you want to eliminate the persistent notification from the Ultimate Rotation Control app, just open the main app and uncheck the "Show notification" option.

Android Power TwitterThis, of course, is just the beginning of the Nexus 7's customization potential; like with all Android devices, you can change or replace practically every facet of the user experience, installing everything from custom third-party launchers to keyboards and lock screens.

After all, it's your device. If you want a locked-down, "Papa knows what's best for you" type of technology, well, you know where you can find it.