Even though it’s installed on so few devices it doesn’t register on Android’s latest version distribution statistics, Android P is getting a lot of attention from all Android fans. It’ll eventually make its way over to other non-Google Android devices once the full release is available later this year, but that’s a long time to wait if you don’t own a Google Pixel/XL or Google Pixel 2/2 XL. Although many Android device makers have already implemented features that’ll be found in Android P (such as the ability to automatically remember Bluetooth device volume levels), there are some like the awesome new “Rotation Suggestion” feature that aren’t present on any device.
Rotation Suggestion is the name we’re giving for this new Android P feature. In previous versions of Android, the device could either be in two orientation states: locked to portrait mode or auto-rotation enabled to switch between portrait and landscape mode. With Android P, if you disable auto-rotation you are still going to be locked to portrait mode, however, if you orient your device as if you are trying to switch to landscape mode, a new button will appear in the navigation bar that, when pressed, locks the orientation to landscape mode. You can, of course, go back to portrait mode by doing the opposite action, or you can turn this off entirely by just enabling auto-rotation mode.
Here’s a short video of this new feature in action:
Rather than wait for Android P to roll out to your device later this year or next year, here’s how you can replicate this feature on any Android device right now! I’m going to offer two ways to do this. The first will work on any Android device running Android 4.1+, but it’s not a perfect replication of the feature as it doesn’t add the rotation suggestion button to the navigation bar. The second method works on any Android device running Android 7.0+ and actually adds the button to the navigation bar like Android P does, but this method requires an in-app purchase of an app called Custom Navigation Bar.
Method 1 — Dynamic Rotation Control (Android 4.1+)
This is a very simple app that serves only one purpose: It allows you to swap between rotation lock modes without enabling auto-rotation! Just open up the app and press the “start” button in the bottom-right hand corner. It will ask you to grant it two permissions: “Draw over other apps” and “System Settings.” Both are necessary as explained by the dialog, although if you installed the app via the Play Store the “Draw over other apps” permission was automatically granted so you’ll only need to grant “System Settings” manually.
Once you’ve done that, you can fiddle with the sensitivity, button size, and show time which adjusts how affects how accurately the orientation detection will be for the button to show up, how big the button will be, and how long it’ll stay on the screen respectively. Here’s what the button looks like on screen, by the way (keep in mind you have to disable auto-rotation or this won’t show up):
Method 2 — Custom Navigation Bar (Android 7.0+)
The above is a screenshot of the navigation bar of my OnePlus 5 running on the latest OxygenOS 5.1.0 stable release based on Android 8.1 Oreo. As you can see, the rotation suggestion button is there thanks to the Custom Navigation Bar app. Currently, this feature is only available in the beta version of the Custom Navigation Bar app and it also requires the pro version to unlock. You can sign up for the beta version here. Once you’ve done that, download the app from the Play Store.
Follow the setup process to grant it the necessary permission to modify the navigation bar. Once you’ve done that, simply enable the “rotate suggestion” option in settings and you’re good to go!
The feature is still being beta tested, so expect some bugs with how it may display in certain apps. The developer is updating the app quickly to fix any bugs you may come across. Please leave feedback on the official forum thread if you have any.