How to force right to left (RTL) layouts on Android

How to force right to left (RTL) layouts on Android
While most of us are used to left-to-right text, menus, and whatnot, there are certainly users who’d prefer their smartphone or tablet to have right-to-left layouts. 

Of course, if your device’s system language is one that uses a right-to-left script (like Arabic, or Hebrew), the change from LTR to RTL is done automatically. However, Android allows you to force RTL layouts even when using a left-to-right language. This should be helpful for left-handed people, in case they find the regular LTR layout too cumbersome.

To force right-to-left layouts on your Android device you need to open Settings, and access the Developer options menu (if developer options aren’t enabled, here’s how to do it). Once you’ve accessed the menu, scroll down to find the “Force RTL layout direction” tab. Tap on it to activate the option, and you’re done. All system menus and Google apps will reflect the change: phonebook, messaging, Google Play, Gmail, notifications area, and so on. Switching back to left-to-right layouts is just as easy, and is obviously done by taping again on the “Force RTL layout direction” tab.

As you can see below, our quick tutorial was done using stock Android Lollipop (5.0.1), but you should be able to force RTL layouts on any device running Android 4.2 or later.



1. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

I'm left handed and I see no problems with the current layout, tbh.

5. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I am too and sometimes it hard to reach right buttons with thumb. I'm gonna give it a try.

2. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Kind of funny to switch another's phone to this when they're now aware.

8. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

What's funnier is to turn on "show layout boundaries," “screen updates," and “show cpu usage." If it's a regular user that doesn't know anything about developer settings, they'll freak out and think their phone is broken.

3. KingOfAndroid

Posts: 34; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

I am left-handed and I find this useless.

6. renz4

Posts: 319; Member since: Aug 10, 2013

because most lefty just adapt? just like left handed person play regular guitar no problem.

4. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Tried it. Its neat! Gave me a head ache tho.

7. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

im left handed as all hell. .but we have been forced to use right handed modes for so long its ingrained. However, I might try it one night when im bored. Wish this was a 1.5 cupcake feature.. then I'd probably have used it :)

9. kabhijeet.16

Posts: 894; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

Ha ha ha.. That's funny

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.