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How to magnify your smartphone’s screen to make reading easier

Do you ever have to squint to see the fine print on your smartphone? Or is it just plain difficult to read your screen after a tiring day looking at a computer?

Fortunately, there are some useful solutions to help you to easily magnify your smartphone’s screen to make seeing it much easier.

In this week’s tip, we’ll show you how to access these features in your phone’s accessibility settings to avoid headaches and make your screen more readable.

How to magnify your screen on iPhone and iPad

With Apple’s newest operating system, iOS 15, the company added a new accessibility feature called “Zoom”  — but not the video conference one you might be thinking about. Apple’s new Zoom feature allows you to instantly magnify parts of your screen with a few simple taps or swipes. 

This is similar to how you might zoom in on a browser or the Photos app with a finger and a thumb, but with Zoom, you can magnify any part of your screen anywhere on your phone, like in your social media apps that don’t allow zooming in.

With Zoom, you can enlarge the entire screen (Full Screen Zoom) or just parts of the screen (Window Zoom). Here’s how to get started:

  1. First, make sure your Apple device is running the latest version of iOS 15, which can be found at Settings > General > Software Update, or check out this article from Apple for more information.
  2. To turn on the Zoom feature, go to Settings > Accessibility > Zoom, then turn on Zoom.

Now, to use the Zoom feature, you will want to get used to using three fingers to tap and swipe, which is how the tool is enabled. 

  1. To zoom in, double-tap the screen with three fingers, then swipe up or down to magnify or shrink the screen.
  2. You can navigate around your magnified screen by dragging three fingers across the screen to your desired location.
  3. You can also triple-tap the screen with three fingers to bring up a menu, which allows you to adjust the zoom levels, as well as adjust settings.
  4. To adjust the settings with the Zoom menu, triple-tap with three fingers, then adjust any of the following:
    1. Choose Region: Choose Full Screen Zoom or Window Zoom.
    2. Resize Lens: (Window Zoom) Tap Resize Lens, then drag any of the round handles that appear.
    3. Choose Filter: Choose Inverted, Grayscale, Grayscale Inverted, or Low Light.
    4. Show Controller: Show the Zoom Controller.
  5. To use the Zoom Controller, do any of the following:
    1. Show the Zoom menu: Tap the controller.
    2. Zoom in or out: Double-tap the controller.
    3. Pan: When zoomed in, drag the controller.

Alternatively, if you want larger text all the time on your device, go to Settings > Accessibility > Display Text & Size > Larger Text, then adjust the size of the text with the slider.

How to magnify your screen on an Android device

Android also has magnification features built into your device’s accessibility settings. Here’s how to turn it on and use this useful feature, but make sure your device is running Android 11 or higher.

  1. To turn on magnification, go to Settings > Accessibility > Magnification
  2. Turn on the Magnification shortcut.

To zoom in (instructions via Google):

  1. Tap the accessibility button.
  2. Tap anywhere on the screen, except the keyboard or navigation bar.
  3. Drag 2 fingers to move around the screen.
  4. Pinch with 2 fingers to adjust zoom.
  5. To stop magnification, use your magnification shortcut again.

To zoom in temporarily

  1. Tap the accessibility button.
  2. Touch and hold anywhere on the screen, except the keyboard or navigation bar.
  3. Drag your finger to move around the screen.
  4. Lift your finger to stop magnification.

Alternatively, just like the iPhone, if you want larger text all the time on your device, head over to Settings > Accessibility > Text & Display, and tap Font size, where you can adjust the slider to change to your preferred font size. Learn more about how to adjust fonts and display on your Android device here.