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Android 15 could make it easier to use your phone in landscape mode

Damien Wilde / Android Authority


  • Android 15 could revamp the lock screen and notifications panel to look better in landscape mode on phones.
  • The lock screen can’t even be rotated into landscape mode on phones right now.
  • Meanwhile, the notifications panel can be rotated into landscape mode, but the layout sacrifices a lot of space.

Although Google designed Android’s UI to scale on both phones and tablets properly, it optimized the UI to look best in portrait mode for phones and landscape mode for tablets. That makes the most sense since phones are naturally meant to be held in portrait mode and tablets in landscape mode, but there are times when you want to use either device in the opposite orientation. If you rotate your Android phone into landscape mode, though, you may notice that certain system UI elements like the lock screen and the notifications panel aren’t optimized, at least on stock Android. Fortunately, the Android 15 update could bring an optimized landscape layout for both the lock screen and the notifications panel on phones.

Before I showcase the new lock screen and notifications panel layouts, I want to mention how they look in the current stock Android 14 release. Since the lock screen can’t rotate at all in stock Android 14 on phones, there’s nothing for me to show there. In contrast, the notifications panel does have a landscape layout already in stock Android 14, albeit with some issues. For starters, there’s a lot of wasted space since two-thirds of the screen is reserved for notifications that only stretch to about half the width of the panel. The top third is taken up by a row of four Quick Settings tiles, which is fine, but other elements like the Quick Settings edit button, brightness slider, foreground services task manager, user switcher, settings shortcut, and power menu shortcut aren’t shown. These remaining elements are only shown when you fully expand the notifications panel, which requires another swipe down. Fortunately, Android at least manages to slot in the media player in the unexpanded state, but the downside is that there’s less room for notifications.

In contrast, the newer notifications panel layout that I manually enabled in Android 15 leaves enough room to show your notifications, four of your Quick Settings tiles (in a 2×2 layout), the brightness slider, and the rest of the previously mentioned elements. In fact, the new notifications panel for phones basically looks like a shrunk-down version of the notifications panel on tablets.

Similarly, the new landscape mode layout for phones’ lock screens looks similar to the one for tablets.

I first spotted the landscape-optimized UI for the lock screen in Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1, released last September, while I spotted the landscape-optimized UI for the notifications panel in Android 14 QPR2 Beta 2, released in December. Although these landscape-optimized UIs have been around in Android builds for a few months now, they’re still clearly unfinished, as I encountered multiple bugs while using them. For example, the media player overlaps with the lock screen shortcut on the left as well as the At a Glance widget. The counter for the number of Quick Settings pages erroneously thought there were only three pages when there were six (though this was fixed with a reboot). Finally, when swiping through Quick Settings tiles, you can see them clip under the notifications on the right.

Despite these issues, the new landscape-optimized layouts for the lock screen and notifications panel are clear improvements from the current baseline. I hope Google irons out these kinks soon so it can bring the new UI to stock Android in a future update.

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