Google has introduced a somewhat hidden novelty in the latest version of its operating system, Android 12: face detection with the front camera to determine whether the phone screen should be turned. This avoids considerable inconvenience, especially when using the mobile in bed. And it’s very easy to activate on compatible phones, like the Google Pixel 6.

How many times have you put the mobile horizontally without the screen content rotating accordingly? Many, of course; Just as you will have rotated the phone many times fighting for screen rotation to adapt the content to the way you were viewing it. Well, Google wanted to solve these inconveniences with its smart screen rotation. And it works fine.

The camera is the great ally of position sensors

Face detection in Android 12

For automatic screen rotation to be enabled, the system must detect the orientation of the device in order to adapt what is displayed on the panel. Accelerometers are specially dedicated to this task, these sensors responsible for detecting movement, orientation and speed. Also collaborating is the gyroscope, another of the sensors that allow the phone to position itself in space (to use ARCore’s augmented reality, for example). And Google has added the camera to the equation.

In addition to detecting movement and its orientation, phones like the Google Pixel 6, which are already running Android 12, analyze the face of whoever is using the phone to fine-tune the orientation of the screen.

Since there are times when the sensors can give erroneous information (how many times did you have to rotate the mobile several times for the screen to be correctly oriented?), with the front camera the margin of error is largely eliminated. That the face is aligned with the screen? The orientation is maintained even if the sensors indicate that the phone is upside down.

To enable smart rotation, you must perform the following steps on a compatible mobile:

Go to your Android settings and find display options. Scroll to ‘Auto-rotate screen’ and press to access the menu. The actual function name may vary. If you have smart rotation available, something like “Enable face detection” will appear. Check it out and the front camera will analyze your face to more accurately determine how the system should fit the content on the screen.

The faces section for the smart turn is made with the analysis of the images taken by the front camera. These images are neither saved nor left on the phone: they are only used to analyze the user’s orientation in relation to the phone.

Google is including smart screen rotation in Android 12 as a standard feature, though that doesn’t mean it reaches all phones updated to that OS version. As is often the case, each brand will implement their own version or even not add smart rotation to their screen rotation detection.