Android 12 will fix the worst thing about using your phone in bed

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review
(Image credit: Future)

Android 12 may include a new face-based setting for auto-rotate — but only for Google Pixel phones, at least at first.

9to5Google reports that the new auto-rotate option can detect which way the user’s head is turned, and rotate the screen to maintain the desired orientation. So if you’re using your Google Pixel 5 in bed, with both your head and your phone facing sideways, it could potentially solve the issue of existing auto-rotate settings forcing the screen into portrait when you want it in landscape.

This new version of auto-rotate would presumably be based on a very simple form of facial recognition, as the Pixel 5 dropped the ability to unlock with your face after the Pixel 4 introduced it. 

Still, the Pixel series’ front-facing cameras can still be used to pick up the general shape and orientation of the user’s face, which enables features like Snapchat’s filters. So hopefully there wouldn’t be too much to worry about from a privacy perspective.

9to5Google’s report states that face-based auto-rotate could be made available on other Android 12 handsets as well, though if the feature does make it to launch it would start with Pixel phones only.

This is apparently also the case for another leaked Android 12 feature, the long-awaited double-tap gesture. This was first included as part of a developer preview for Android 11, but was never formally launched; last month, however, double-tap was tipped to come to Pixel phones as part of Android 12.

As for Android 12 itself, Google has kept tight-lipped publicly about what its next mobile OS might include. Even so, a developer preview is expected to launch in the near future, so expect more news to trickle out ahead of the full launch later this year. 

We’ve already seen what appears to the drastic new Android 12 redesign, with an overhauled color scheme, more rounded UI elements and added privacy indicators when apps are using sensors like the camera.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.

  • TGO
    Because clicking the rotation lock widget is oh so difficult. #FirstWorldProblems
  • dgatgf9999
    Using the camera to detect face orientation is a ridiculously complex way to control the screen orientation. The Android button that toggles autorotate on/off should be a portrait/landscape toggle. Ok maybe a 3-way toggle portrait/landscape/auto. Please just give us a direct control.