Reading the Fine Print: Zoom In

Why are there so many things with such tiny print on them? I seem to ask myself that question more often with each passing year. I used to snap a photo with my phone and then zoom in, but there is a better way…


Instead of taking a photo, the iPhone and iPad have a built-in magnifier that makes it easy to zoom in on something that is too small. This is another one of those hidden but useful features.

Setting Up

To access the magnifier, you’ll use Control Center. But first, you’ll need to add the magnifier. To do that, go to Settings and tap Control Center, then tap Customize Controls:

Next, scroll down to the More Controls section and tap the + button next to Magnifier:

This will add magnifier to the bottom of the list in the Include section. Magnifier is now ready to use.

Control Center

To use the magnifier, bring up Control Center and tap the magnifier button. Control Center is accessed differently depending on the device you’re using.

iPhone with Home Button

If your iPhone has a home button, then swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen. Note: you must start swiping up from below the screen:

iPad or iPhone with No Home Button

If you are using an iPad or a newer iPhone that doesn’t have a home a button (iPhone X and later), swipe down from the upper right corner of the screen. Note: you must start swiping down from the very top of the device:

Using Magnifier

Control Center has several controls for accessing various features of your device (I’ll cover this more in an upcoming article). To zoom in on something, tap the magnifier button:

Your device will then use the camera to display whatever you’re pointing at. To zoom in or out, use the slider:

If you need more light, tap the flashlight button:

Freeze Frame

If you’d like to freeze whatever is currently shown on the screen, tap the freeze frame button. Once an image is frozen the controls disappear and your screen is filled with the image:

You can use two fingers to pinch in and out on the image, and move it around by dragging your finger on the screen. Tap the screen to bring up the controls again.

If you’d like to save the frozen image to your photo library, tap and hold on the image, and then choose Save Image. Or, tap Share to send the image to another person or different app.

To stop viewing the frozen image, tap the screen to bring up the controls and then tap freeze frame again.


Using filters to change the color, brightness, and contrast may help you see the item better. And, if you want to stop the camera from refocusing every time you move your device, tap the focus lock button.


When you’re finished with magnifier, just press the home button or swipe up from the bottom of the screen, depending on your device, and you’ll be taken back to the home screen.

Stop Squinting

I use the magnifier quite often, whether it’s to see a very small part number on something or to snap a quick image of a menu in a restaurant that is too dark. I hope that you will find it useful, too.

Cover photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

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