Appside Down: Should my App Work Upside Down?

When creating an iPhone app, many app developers lean towards disallowing their app being used upside down. Reasons given are usually:

  • The big companies (Apple, Google) have most of their apps only in portrait mode, not in upside down portrait mode
  • When allowing upside down and a phone call comes in, the user is confused, which would not have happened, if the user had to use the phone in portrait mode only

While I do see the reasons behind this, there are situations, where this portrait mode only is just not convenient:

  • When the app is used on a bike, in a rain-shelter but a cable needs to go outside (either phone or charging / lightning). If you are lucky, your bike app shelter knows where the cable is. Else you wish, you could use your navigation app upside down.
  • When the app is used in a car and you want to place the iPhone holder on the windshield in a phone holder as low as possible – then you either are 2-3 cm (or 1 inch) over the windshield due to the charging / lightning cable going out below, or you can turn your iPhone upside down and put the cable in on top, allowing you to lower the phone a little more.
  • When you are charging your phone in a car where there is no phone holder (e.g. rental car), then the cup holders are helpful (sometimes). Being able to put a phone into the cup holder upside down and still being able to see the content of your app helps you save the money for the car phone holder.

So when designing an app that is used over a longer time, e.g. could be used with the lightning cable being plugged in, then the option of using the app upside down suddenly may make sense for your customers.

What do you think?