Auto-rotate has been a native feature on smartphones for several years now and a lot of us use it in our daily routine. The option is handy when you’re playing video on your device and you flip it sideways to expand the video to occupy the whole screen. But if you’re like me, you’d now have gotten used to toggling auto-rotate time and again to prevent it from switching to landscape when you don’t need it to be.
What’s new for Auto-rotate on Android 12?
Google is making auto-rotate more reliable as it’s bringing a new Face Detection option for auto-rotate on Android 12. With this new feature, Android will now take advantage of your phone’s front-facing camera to detect your face and analyze its orientation relative to your phone so that it’s able to accurately make out when the screen should be rotated. Prior to this, Android relied on your phone’s accelerometer to track how you held your phone.
The addition of Face Detection should come as a blessing for those of us who use our phones while lying on a bed or a couch. With this feature enabled, you no longer need to lock your screen orientation when you’re lying on your bed sideways with your phone held horizontally. Google will detect your face and keep your phone in portrait mode so you can continue using it the way you did when you were sitting or standing.
Face Detection for Auto-rotate will happen locally on your Android device, meaning your images will neither be stored on your phone nor transferred off of your it. The feature will follow Android’s Private Compute Core and just like Live Caption, Now Playing and Smart Reply, the face detection process will happen exclusively on your device.
How to enable Face Detection for rotating the screen automatically on Android 12
Before we move on to enabling Face Detection for auto-rotation on Android, you first need to know that this feature is currently exclusive to the Beta 3 build of Android 12. If you’ve already enrolled on the Android 12 Beta program, you can update your phone to Beta 3 by going to Settings > System > System update and then tapping ‘Check for update’.
Once you’re on Android 12 Beta 3, you can enable the new feature by opening the Settings app and selecting ‘Display’.
Inside Display, tap on ‘Auto-rotate screen’ under the ‘Other display controls’ section.
On the next screen, switch ON the ‘Enable Face Detection’ toggle.
You can now use your phone in portrait mode even when you’re lying around without locking your screen orientation time and again.
Can’t find Face Detection for Auto-rotate? Here’s why
In our testing, we found out that the Face Detection option appears on select Pixel phones. When trying it out, we were able to enable it on a Pixel 4a but there was no option to ‘Enable Face Detection’ on our Pixel 3a. We thus believe that Face Detection is dependent on a few device capabilities and you can take advantage of it only if your device supports it.
Based on other reports, Face Detection for Auto-rotate appears to be currently available on Pixel 4 and later models. If you own a Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, or an older device, chances are you won’t be able to use the new auto-rotate functionality on your phone.
That’s all we have on using Face Detection to Auto-Rotate your screen on Android 12.