Accessibility & Technology

Using the iPhone Magnifier

Apr 5, 2019

Using the iPhone Magnifier

You don’t necessarily have to be of a certain age, or have a serious visual impairment, to benefit from the Magnifier built into the iPhone.  This is one of the accessibility features that is truly universal.  It’s in your phone, which is in your pocket, or in your hand and always ready to help you get a closer look.  It’s there for you whether you need to blow-up the fine print, or you want to make large text even larger.

Before the magnifier was added to Apple Accessibility Settings, it was only available in third-party apps, mostly with a low degree of clarity.  The issue for a long time was the quality of the cameras in the phones not being sufficient to produce a clear image when magnified.  With each new generation of hardware, the camera has improved.  It’s easy to see now, iPhone X has the best magnifier so far, and a safe bet the models that follow will be even better. 


Accessing the Magnifier

To turn on the Magnifier go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Magnifier.  Once clicked on in Settings, Magnifier can be launched with a triple click that brings up the Accessibility Shortcuts. 

It would be very easy if we could open the Magnifier with a voice command, but for some reason, Siri will not yet cooperate, as it does for turning on/off VoiceOver.  Hopefully, this will be enabled in an iOS update soon.


How it Works

The Magnifier screens contains several controls at the bottom:

  • A slider adjusts the zoom level from 1x to 15x.
  • Flashlight for added illumination.
  • Padlock button for focus lock.
  • Round button freezes the frame.
  • Use slider to zoom in and out in freeze frame.
  • The frozen image can be saved or shared by tapping and holding for pop-up menu.
  • Button on far right consisting of 3 circles is for adjusting filters for brightness and contrast.   

Getting used to this magnifier is, like everything, all about adjusting.  It’s worth the effort, because the more you use it, the better you’ll get.  It’s incredibly convenient to have a magnifier always available in your phone, and it’s also in iPad and iPod Touch.

Watch these iFocus iOS Magnifier tutorials from Hadley.

For comments, questions or feedback, email us, or connect on Facebook or Twitter. We would love to hear from you!

About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.



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