A few weeks ago, Google released an update to the Google Search apps for Android. The updates brought the ability to rotate your Android phone into landscape mode for viewing of your home screen. Users, of course, have been able to use various apps in landscape mode with no problem but if you turned your device into landscape in an app then tapped the Home key to go back home, you went to a portrait mode. That has changed now with the update to these apps but by default, it is disabled. I’ll show you how to enable it in this How To so you can try it out and see if it is right for you.
It should be noted that this update and How To require that you have the latest version of the Google Search app on your phone installed as well as the Google Now Launcher. The Google Search build is 5.8.xx while the Google Now version you need is at version 1.3. The key here is the Search app so make sure you are running the 5.8 build.
To enable the feature, first pull down your Notification shade and make sure that you have auto rotate enabled on the display widget. Next, and assuming you have the Google Now Launcher installed, swipe over to the Google Now page from your home screen and then use the menu to go to settings. At the bottom of the Settings page you will notice there is a new Allow rotation setting which is disabled. Enable it and tap your Home button to go back to your Home screen.
At this point you should be able to turn your Android phone into landscape mode and the Home screen will rotate to a landscape view.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to have this Landscaping viewing feature enabled and the ability to auto-rotate enabled in the Notification shade. Without both of then enabled, they cancel each other out and you will stay in portrait mode. Now the good news is that once you set the Landscape viewing in Google Search, you can control the landscape viewing as you normally do in the Notifications shade.
The follow up question to these settings is, why would you want to do this anyway? It is a valid question and really, unless you have a device of 5.5″ or larger, it may not make a lot of sense. I have a Nexus 6 with a 5.96″ screen so for me, especially when I’m switching between content on my phone (Google Sheets to Google Slides to
whatever), I’m not constantly rotating from landscape to portrait as I move around the device. It is a simple thing but it saves me a few seconds simply because I don’t have to reorient my brain to sort out the icons on my screen.
Give it a go and see what you think. Does it work for you?
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