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Screen rotation lock tile

DIY: Shortcut Tile for screen rotation toggle in Update 3 for Windows Phone

If you’re using Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (Preview), and according to today’s poll many of you are, then you’re probably enjoying the benefits of the new screen rotation orientation lock.

A long sought after feature, albeit minor, is the new setting that allows you to lock the OS in place so that it won’t auto-rotate—great for when lying in bed. In fact, it’s your third favorite feature right behind the preview program and ‘X’ button for closing apps.

There’s just one problem: the orientation lock settings are a pain to get to. If you want to toggle the orientation lock, you need to hop into Settings, scroll down the massive list of choices, find the orientation lock and then toggle it. It’s far from ideal in terms of efficiency. Microsoft could easily fix this by making the setting pinnable to the Start screen for easy access, and hopefully they will for the final release.

Luckily for now, users who are running Update 3 also have developer unlocked devices—there’s no other way to have received the latest version of the OS. That also means you can sideload so-called ‘homebrew’ apps, which are apps not cleared in the Store.

Screen rotation

Developer and Windows Phone Central frequent member Bailey Stein has posted a cool little XAP to enable a Tile for the orientation lock. You can see what it looks like in the lead image above. It allows small, medium and double wide sizes and tapping it brings you right to the toggle switch. Clever. Simple. And to the point.

Hopefully Microsoft will do this themselves for the final release, but for now, if you have Windows Phone SDK tools installed, you can just load up the XAP thru the deployment app on your PC and push this baby to your developer unlocked phone. You can find the XAP via the source link below.

Source: Bailey Stein (blog); via Windows Phone Central forums



There are 122 comments. Sign in to comment

Rick Smits says:

I always wondered why most settings aren't pin-able within the settings.

erzhik says:

Probably because the guy in charge of that feature was eating nachos and missed some settings.

StevieBallz says:

Some likely just aren't changed that often. For others the reason is that they don't exist on all devices. Internet Connection Sharing is one that has been requested time and time again but some devices don't have it (with certain brandings). We only get URI schemes for those that are guaranteed to exist on the device it seems.

WPCrook says:

I have internet sharing but in the 6 months I've had my Lumia 920 I have used it once, maybe twice. Not really a feature I find useful tbh.

he_shark says:

I've not used it much lately either, but for people with tablets out and about on the go then it can be invaluable. No need for a 3g tablet, no hunting for wifi.

schlubadub says:

It shouldn't be on a case-by-case basis. You should be able to pin any setting available to you. i.e. If you can see it in the settings, you can pin it. I believe android users can create shortcuts for any setting.

pallentx says:

Yes! I use Internet Connection Sharing multiple times a day with my tablet. I really wish they would make toggle tiles for on-off setting like this. Tap it and it turns green for on - tap it again and it turns red for off.

Sam Sabri says:

Microsoft needs a way for common settings to be quickly access. Things like Wi-Fi, screen roate, etc. 

Say word son. Preach on brotha.

kiddj55 says:

This is probably the best idea I've seen for this issue

WhippedKream says:

Yeah and those settings don't need to be HUGE looking or anything (i.e. look at android). Metro-esque that shit up and maybe on the bottom would be cool for something else VERY minor (i.e. brightness adjustments maybe?) 

he_shark says:

Nah, just add it above the "network status, battery, clock" bar that drops from the top (no idea it's 'official' name). That should just come down further with clickable settings. But WP needs to do something like "superuser" on Android so you can give apps permission to change these settings. All these shortcuts to the settings panels are just clunky, an app should be able to set these things directly.

nizzon says:

Yeah, like toggles that you can quickly reach wherever you are. Oh man that's an awesome idea, how come no one thought of this before?!

Oh wait, MS just refuses to add it.

stui83 says:

Yep Android has, android has it gooood....

Vistaus says:

Yep. And webOS had it before Android, and webOS probably wasn't the first OS to feature it either. And by today's standards, even iOS has it and Symbian and Firefox OS. Sailfish OS also has it although not really in the same way but still faster to toggle than on WP.
(note: I don't wanna be *that* guy who argues who got it first, I just wanted to add it was even done before Android came around and by today's standards pretty much every OS has it compared to WP)

lippidp says:

Voice commands are the way to go. "Set WiFi off." Fuckin a. My next best option are buttons and switches on the chassis, but I know you girls will balk at that.

gautam26 says:

+920 !!! Voice commands are way to go.. hope MSFT integrates voice commands for each and every small task in WP 8.1.. 

Jabid21 says:

I think Microsoft should add something like the charms bar that you can access by swiping. Start screen still requires you to leave the app you are in. But I get it, baby steps.

txDrum says:

This is great news, but I think we could do better.

I really think Microsoft needs to make it possible for simply selecting a live tile to perform a function, almost like or exactly like a normal android widget.

We don't NEED to go to the rotation lock to hit the toggle. There's only one thing that its going to do and that is toggle on and off. Seeing as its nothing more complicated than that, I'd love for live tiles to truly become simple toggles. Context Switches are annoying, unproductive, and unnecessary. Not in all cases, but certainly in some.

Yup, I agree there.

erzhik says:

This is Microsoft we are talking about. It took them 3 years to give us rotation lock in most annoying way possible. It will take them another 5 to make it usable without getting frustrated.

nizzon says:

I'm really starting to question if they understand how unnecessarily cumbersome the WP experience is sometimes. I was expecting these features, and a working notification system with WP7.

John20212 says:

Sad, but so true.

polychromenz says:

Would that work though? I try to scroll down my home screen and turn off wifi. I don't think it would work.

PolishHitta says:

Wish Microsoft would enable me to pin my settings contents such as WiFi, NFC, and screen orientation lock. I know that there are alternative apps, but why download an app if it could be imbedded?

Darren Walsh says:

That was quick lol

ThePKReddy says:

I was thinking the same...

jkercado says:

I want something like this for the Nokia audio controls. I have searched for ways to code that, but it seems to be "hidden".

MyNL822 says:

Hey, Daniel! i used app studio to get update and havent gone through the process of actually developer unlocking my phone, but how would i developer unlock my phone using app studio? is it dangerous?

txDrum says:

Check the forums. There's plenty of guides.

RMathis77 says:

I would love a quick access button for "Battery Saver" I use a lot and hate going in to settings and selecting it everytime.....I know first world problems!!!

baileystein says:

give me 15 minutes lol.

MyNL822 says:

Lol, me too and any settings app I find will take a long laggy time to load. Maybe, as I'm gonna add on to the volume controls idea, we could be able to choose features to place in this quick settings area, and maybe up to 3 can be placed there. Tht would be so nice, for me it would be:battery,WiFi, and screen rotation.

baileystein says:

Just tweeted you a link to the XAP. ;D

PB_H says:

That would be too simple and logical, we "need" a batttery meter to tell us how much the battery is discharging per hour, give us the wrong % (unless you actually open it -it's the dirty little secret that 99.9% of the developers don't tell you) when all along it's the battery meter app that's largely the culprit. A shortcut to the Battery Saver would always show the correct % and the estimated time remaining AND it's takes up no extra storage and you can turn it OFF or ON and it's always FREE.

freshfelicio says:

I think users should be able to hold down on a setting, then a menu should pop up with an item "pin to start". Simple as that.

That'd be useful but developers have found the "hold to..." function has major discoverability issues, meaning most people never know it's there to use it :/

John20212 says:

It might have issues but its still 100% better than nothing at all.

apocacrux says:

App Studio membership allows for Update 3 without having an unlocked phone, so being a dev is not the ONLY way to have received update 3.

baileystein says:

If you signup for app studio, and download the WP8 SDK, you can unlock one phone for free. So if you have Update 3 Preview, you can sideload apps.

Bailey is correct and you can load up to three XAP files to your device.

MyNL822 says:

What he means is we were able to only sigh up for app studio and download certificate and we were able to get update 3, I never developer unlocked.

dgaust says:

Umm, that's exactly what you did. You developer unlocked your phone.

apocacrux says:

Awesome, thank you for letting me know this! I had no idea that was an option.

timgabrhel says:

Submitted an app to do exactly this last night. Just pending store approval.

baileystein says:

Great minds think alike? :D

cypripri says:

Thanks please let us know when it's live!

timgabrhel says:

Honestly it should be any MINUTE now. 

cypripri says:

Great what name should i be searching for?

timgabrhel says:

Rotation Lock :)

The WP store is quite cutthroat. Just finished my version of this app about 3 hours before the article came out.

That's hilarious. Ping us when it is live.

toph36 says:

The "screen rotation" setting is the 6th setting down for me. So I don't have scroll down the list. Is this not the same for everyone? If not, they really need to organize the settings list.

azcruz says:

Exactly. Some people need to be spoiled :P The other settings like Airplane mode, Cellular or Location are much lower in the list.

It's an XAP doesn't this mean I need an SD card or my computer? :(

Chris Yahya says:

Exactly, because GDR3 preview is for developer unlocked

adrian1338 says:

No. U Can sideload ad developer directly on the phone by a program

There is a problem, though.
I don't want to have to keep locking and unlocking.
I would rather tell the program that I want it locked or unlocked.

Syneidesis says:

+8X (Sorry, I don't have a 920 or a 1020). But kudos! Couldn't agree more!

Chris Yahya says:

Please dont pin it on start screen, but pin it on volume bar :((

feeked says:

are you saying that the GDR3 update that has been released isn't actually the final/RTM version?

M_VwithDVP says:

8.1 is still coming on Q1 2014 if it isn't delayed.

Twitter doesn't rotate, MetroTube rotates automatic, WPCentral lets You decide. Why need more like General rotation lock?

DonnaxNL says:

All native apps (People, Mail, etc) and apps like WhatsApp still rotate. It's kinda annoying when laying in bed.

Cellus13 says:

Its a pain to find it in the settings? Ok...

So i will be toggling all the Time? Wow, no thanks. I like it like it is right now. App devs should build it in, like WPCentral app.

pmich says:

I'm getting annoyed that there's no quick pull down menu for settings. I'm already wasting 4 tiles at the top of my screen just for quick access. 2014 can't come soon enough. In the meantime, thank you for creating these shortcuts to all devs

Xsled says:

Quick settings should be available from the multi tasking view. Plenty of unused space...

Fndlumia says:

Gee were being spoilt shits now hey

AndyCalling says:

In case it hasn't been mentioned, all MS need do is allow the user to reorder the settings menu. Then one could simply pin the Settings app to the start screen as is already possible. Instant access to all your most vital settings in two fast clicks. There are more pretty solutions, but few as flexible for so little effort for MS.

TR3YIA says:

I like that. The ability to sort like they will be doing on the apps screen.

devize says:

You consider pressing the windows key to get to the start screen, finding and clicking on the settings icon, clicking on the rotation lock tab, clicking on the toggle, long holding the back button, swiping over to the app you were in and then clicking on the card to open the app instant access? As opposed to android or iOS which requires a flick down from the top/bottom of the screen and one click on the toggle without ever having to leave the app you were in. Sorry, but I'll take the Android/iOS approach over your so called solution. 

TR3YIA says:

You don't have to scroll through tons of settings as 'screen rotation lock' bumped Bluetooth down a notch. This shortcut saves one tap.

Nik Rolls says:

One tap if you already have settings pinned to Start. Many more if you choose not to.

twelvetudors says:

Plus swipes if settings is near the bottom.

TR3YIA says:

If you chose not to pin settings to start, you are only hurting yourself.

Nik Rolls says:

Not really. For just a few commonly used settings, it's much faster to use an app that can give you tiles that drop right into the setting you want, and pin those instead.

Nik Rolls says:

Sorry, but that's incorrect. You don't need to have a developer unlocked device to get the update; that's one of three optional criteria.

If you use the App Studio option, you can unlock the device to sideload up to three XAP files. I can't help you if you're too lazy to actually unlock your phone.

Nik Rolls says:

I'm a developer, my phone is unlocked. But what I meant is that two out of the three avenues don't require the phone to be unlocked, so saying that people with Update 3 already have unlocked devices is incorrect; saying that people running Update 3 *can* unlock their devices is more the case, and would save confusion among people who don't know this.

lafn says:

How about just pinching the front and back of the phone while rotating the phone and it knows you want to lock the screen as is?

isi mcf says:

Right swipe for notifications and quick settings!

FearL0rd says:

it can be done with a simple javascript that I post in the forums...
Just create a favorites for it and pin to start
Check here

Zeroplanetz says:

I seriously thought the title was saying that the os rotates now on the main screen front lol. Like windows 8/rt.

Capsloc says:

Imo there should be something like in the ... Button to have an available option to rotate but keep it locked. Some apps I like vertical, some horizontal...for me this feature has just become a hassle so I disabled it. I tried driving mode, meh just turned it off.

RodimusMajor says:

Ah, I remember this method, I did something similar to enable screen capture on my 900. As for my 1020, though...uh, what's the minimum version of Windows I need to hook up my phone to the computer for this? I don't think Vista will work...ugh, I need a new laptop, man. 

Ticomfreak says:

Just upgrade to Windows 8.

Rather than putting these kinds of toggles in tiles, I'd rather see a single "control panel" that we can access with a swipe, similar to how I expect the notification centre to work.  Airplane mode, wi-fi, blue tooth, screen lock etc. are all good candidates for an easily accessible control panel.
It bothers me that something like this is not even rumored for 8.1.  It seems so obvious to most of us.

wonder1070 says:

Actually..... Confession to make. I don't have an unlocked dev phone but I was able to download GDR3.... Sorry to bust ur bubbles.

Umm... Yes. You don't need to unlock your phone to install GDR3. It's just that you must have an App Studio account in order to install it.

But to side load XAP, you have to unlock your phone which is again available for free if you have an App Studio account. And it takes just minutes to do so.

avigyan says:

How to do it? Can you please send a link or something which explains the process?

Ultimateone says:

There's also another app already done in the app forums

Just sent it to my phone works fantastic well done to the person who made it. Sucks that everyone cant get this :(

V Turk says:

They should put it in the app pause screen. Like have a list of small boxes and you'll have wifi Bluetooth screen lock and so on which can be toggled on. I don't mind a charms button but i don't think that would fit within the phone.

petersun21 says:

cannot install the app with installing the certificate first. I registered for app studio and got an e-mail asking me to install a certicate -- popup asking "add company account..." clicked OK. nothing happened. What to do?

peterfares says:

I really HOPE that it's just annoying to access because they plan on putting it into a quick toggles menu.

They can just put "rotation on/off" button to the volume menu(like "vibrate/ring+vibrate").

avigyan says:

When I try to install the .xap file from the link provided, the phone says "cannot install company app...". How do I get through this?

solidheat says:

Why aren't quick settings available when you hold the back button? There's all the wasted screen space on top of the open apps. Why not have wifi, screen lock, Bluetooth and airplane mode as toggled icons?

i hope we'll get this in the next update. :D

Vesane Vates says:

Sorry for the noobish question (I'm just an 'enthusiast' GDR3 updatee, not a developer), but how can we deploy XAPs to, say, a Lumia 920 without using a Windows 8 computer?
On the Microsoft site that talks about deployment tools, it says to use the Windows SDK program, but I'm on Windows 7 so I can't run that program. Anyone know somewhere to download xapdeploy. exe as a standalone (and if that'll work on Windows 7, or if not, then an alternate way of deploying the XAP to my phone)?

thangola says:

Luckily for now, users who are running Update 3 also have developer unlocked devices—there’s no other way to have received the latest version of the OS. 

This is not true. We can get the preview if we have an App Studio account. Just go to, choose Start building, then login with the same account as on the phone to activate the App Studio account. Then download Preview for Developers app, accept the terms and get Update 3. Very easy?

uopjo6 says:

It locks the camera to portrait too :\ That's not good.

interopbyt says:

Microsoft should have made the settings pinnable... It's pretty much needed by now!

Tbh I would prefer Samsung to add it as a shortcut in app folder.

if you look at this link i really think this is what wp8 should be doing - fits right into the way of things, good for notifications and quick settings - such as the screen rotate
what does every1 else think
vote for it using the wpuservoice link, 30k votes already

Heck here is another app. just for the diversity. developed it coz i needed the shortcut. why not share it.

This needs to be hard wired into the settings of every affected application. Even a Bing image search can't be rotated now. You soon realise how much you wish you'd never turned it off, just for the sake browsing on your side in bed.

LiamRuff says:

Has anyone else noticed an improvement in battery life with GDR3?

I've locked the screen-rotation to portait which I guess turns of the acceleromter?? which would constantly be on to detect which way you're holding the phone and since doing that my battery life has been better (HTC 8x)

michail71 says:

After all this time I think Apple has finally figured out how to toggle settings. Hopefully Microsoft won't take so long.

PB_H says:

You can find every type of battery meter -that uses up battery juice btw, but no one is genius enough to create a shortcut to the battery saver, wtf !!

sinister1 says:

This is a silly question that I should know the answer to but I don't; what is the side load app limit?

Corvodin says:

I don't have Win8 installed, how can I get the xap onto my phone ?