How to use Magnifier on iPhone and iPad

Your iPhone and iPad have all kinds of features for calls, messages, emails, games, apps, and everything else you do with your device. However, Magnifier might be the best feature you’re missing out on.

This handy built-in tool lets you magnify anything you need to see it clearly—from reading small print to threading a needle. Magnifier also gives you features to adjust the view, apply filters, and save a snapshot of what you are magnifying.

When your reading glasses are in another room or your physical magnifier is lost, be sure to take advantage of Magnifier on your iPhone and iPad.

Access Magnifier

You can open Magnifier in a number of ways, either as an Accessibility shortcut or from the Control Center. Here’s how to make sure it’s set up for each type.

Use accessibility shortcuts

If you want to quickly open Magnifier by triple-clicking the side or Home button (depending on your device), follow these steps to enable it.

  1. Open Setting application and select Accessibility.
  2. Scroll down to the last section for General and select Accessibility Shortcut.
  3. Option Magnifying glass to put a check mark next to it.

When you triple-click your button, the Magnifier app opens right up. If you’ve set multiple items for your Accessibility Shortcut, you’ll see a pop-up box to select the item you want.

Using Control Center

Another useful location for Magnifier is in your Control Center. This allows you to open the tool with a simple swipe and tap.

  1. Open Setting application and select Control Center.
  2. Scroll down to More Controls and tap the plus sign next to Magnifying glass.
  3. Once it’s added to the top, Attached Controls, drag it to get it where you want it in the list.

Then just open your Control Center and tap on Magnifying glass icon to open it.

Use Magnifier to Magnify

When you are ready to use Magnifier, open Magnifier from one of the points described above. The tool uses your device’s camera to capture the object you’re viewing.

Use Launch slider, tap the plus and minus buttons, or pinch the screen to increase or decrease the object’s magnification.

Adjust the brightness

To light up your screen, tap Brightness Icon. Then drag the slider or use the plus and minus signs to increase or decrease the brightness.

Change Contrast

Along with adjusting the brightness, you can change the contrast. Touch Contrast and use the slider or plus and minus signs to increase contrast for a sharper view, or decrease to decrease contrast.

Apply filter

If you have impaired color vision, applying a filter can be helpful. Touch Filter and swipe right to see options. Even if your color vision is fine, using filters can make certain things stand out more.

You can choose from grayscale, red on black, yellow on black, yellow on blue, white on blue, inverted, inverted grayscale, black on red, black on yellow, blue on yellow and blue blue on white.

When you access the filter you want, your screen will update immediately. You can also choose which color filter to display, which we will describe in the section Customize the Magnifier Controls section below.

Lock focus

As you move your device, you’ll notice that it tries to focus and refocus on the subject you’re viewing. While this is helpful, it can also be difficult to zoom in on the exact part you want.

To lock focus on the subject you’re magnifying, tap Focus lock Icon. Then when you move your device, the focus will remain. Tap the icon again to unlock the focus.

Switch front and rear cameras

Maybe the subject you want to enlarge will be easier to capture if you change cameras. Touch Camera icon to switch between front and back camera.

More light

Brightening the screen is not always the best method for adding light. Touch Flashlight icon to use your device’s built-in flashlight. This gives you more light on the actual subject.

Customize the Magnifier Controls

You can remove each of the controls described above from the Magnifier screen when using it. You can also rearrange the order and put the ones you use the most at the top. Alternatively, you can choose Filters to show if you want.

Touch Gear to open the Customize Controls screen. You will then see the following sections:

  • Main control: They appear at the top of the control box on the Magnifier.
  • Sub control: These appear directly below the Main Control.
  • Other controls: These are controls you don’t want to use but are still available if you want to add them later.

To delete a control, tap minus on the left and select Eliminate On the right.

To add controls, tap plus left side.

To rearrange the controls, drag three lines right up or down to place the control where you want it. You can mix them between Primary and Secondary Controls or within each section.

To change the display filters for Magnifier, press Filter under Other controls. Tap to place a check mark next to the filter you want to display. This allows you to show only those filters that are useful to you.

Freeze the frame

If you come to a point in the object you are magnifying that you want to capture and keep, tap frozen Icon. This feature can also help take a magnified picture of something when you can’t see the screen directly. For example, maybe you’re trying to capture a sometimes-too-small label on an internal computer component or a piece of debris on the back of your arm.

You will then see an image of the frame that you freeze. To freeze additional frames, tap rectangle icon, move your device or object and touch frozen again, this will appear as a plus sign.

Clap View next to the rectangle icon to see the image you’ve taken. By default, these screenshots are not saved to the Photos app. If you want to save or share them, tap Repost icon in the top right. Then choose an option like Save Image or share it via Messages.

When you’re done reviewing the images, tap End at the top left.

Discover people around you

If you have an iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, or iPhone 13 Pro Max, you can also use Magnifier to detect people near you. This helps you maintain a safe social distance.

Touch People icon to enable this feature. Move your iPhone so the camera captures the people around you. Your device will notify you by sound and speech to others nearby. When you’re done, press End to return to Magnifier.

For more about person detection, go to Apple Support.

The camera on your iPhone or iPad is obviously very useful for taking pictures or recording videos. However, it’s also a great way to magnify objects, so keep the handy Magnifier tool in mind!

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