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How to use the Magnifier on iPhone and iPad

Iphone Magnifier Hero
Iphone Magnifier Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The Magnifier is a visual accessibility feature that turns your iPad or iPhone into a magnifying glass. That makes seeing everything from newspapers to menus to instructions easier for anyone with low vision.

Note: The quality of the Magnifier, including how closely it can focus on text and objects, will vary depending on the quality of the camera in your iPhone or iPad.

How to enable the Magnifier as a shortcut

The Magnifier is available as a standalone app or as an Accessibility shortcut on the best iPhones and best iPads. If you happen to delete the app and want it back, you can download it from the App Store. By default, Magnifier is not enabled as a shortcut.

To enable it as a shortcut:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Scroll down and select Accessibility Shortcut.

To enable the Magnifier as a shortcut, launch Settings from your Home screen, then tap Accessibility. Scroll down and select Accessibility Shortcut. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Magnifier.

To enable the Magnifier as a shortcut, tap Magnifier. (Image credit: iMore)

Once enabled, just triple-press the Side button or Home button (if your iPhone has one) to start it up. You may have to choose Magnifier if you have multiple accessibility options enabled.

The following steps work when opening the Magnifier either as a shortcut or through the official app. The steps are the same regardless of your selection.

How to zoom in with the Magnifier

  1. Launch the Magnifier app on your iPhone or iPad. You can also triple press the Side or Home buttons to get to the Magnifier.
  2. Tap, hold, and drag the slider to adjust magnification — left to decrease and right to increase magnification.

Zoom in with Magnifier on iOS 15 by showing: Launch Magnifier, move slider to increase or decrease magnification (Image credit: iMore)

How to turn on the flashlight in the Magnifier

  1. Launch the Magnifier app on your iPhone or iPad. You can also triple press the Side or Home buttons to get to the Magnifier.
  2. Underneath the zoom slider, tap the Flashlight button. It looks like a flashlight.

Turn on flashlight in Magnifier in iOS 15 by showing: Launch Magnifier, tap Flashlight to turn on and off (Image credit: iMore)

How to take a freeze-frame in the Magnifier

  1. Launch the Magnifier app on your iPhone or iPad. You can also triple press the Side or Home buttons to get to the Magnifier.
  2. Tap the Freeze Frame button at the bottom center of the screen. It is a large circle with a smaller circle inside it and looks similar to the camera shutter button.

Take a freeze fram in Magnifier on iOS 15 by showing: Launch Magnifier, tap Freeze Frame shutter button (Image credit: iMore)
  1. You can drag the zoom slider to adjust magnification on this freeze frame, or use any other Magnifier tools.
  2. Tap the Freeze Frame button again (now with an "X") to return to the live Magnifier.

How to manually adjust the brightness and contrast in Magnifier

  1. Launch the Magnifier app on your iPhone or iPad. You can also triple press the Side or Home buttons to get to the Magnifier.
  2. Tap the brightness (it looks like a sun) or contrast (a circle with two halves) buttons.

How to manually adjust the brightness and contrast in Magnifier with iOS 15 by showing: Launch Magnifier, tap Brightness or Contrast (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap, hold, and drag the sliders to adjust brightness and contrast to your needs.

How to manually adjust the brightness and contrast in Magnifier with iOS 15 by showing: Move the sliders to your needs (Image credit: iMore)

How to change the filter in Magnifier

  1. Launch the Magnifier app on your iPhone or iPad. You can also triple press the Side or Home buttons to get to the Magnifier.
  2. Tap the Filter button. It looks like three overlapping circles.

How to change the filter in Magnifier on iOS 15 by showing: Launch Magnifier, tap Filters (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Select the filter that you want to use:
    • None
    • 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
    • Blue on White

How to change the filter in Magnifier in IOS 15 by showing: Scroll through the filter options, find the one you want to use (Image credit: iMore)

How to enable Multi-Photo Mode in Magnifier

A new feature in Magnifier is the ability to take multiple freeze frames in Magnifier and view them instead of just a single one. Any freeze frames taken in this mode are not saved to your Camera Roll, and you can go back to Single Photo Mode at any time.

  1. Launch the Magnifier app on your iPhone or iPad. You can also triple press the Side or Home buttons to get to the Magnifier.
  2. Tap the Multi-Photo Mode button in the bottom right.
  3. Add as many freeze frames as you need following the steps above.

How to enable Multi-Photo mode in Magnifier with IOS 15 by showing: Launch Magnifier, tap Multi-Photo Mode in the bottom right (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap View to view your freeze frames and make adjustments as you see fit.
  2. Tap the plus (+) button to return to Multi-Photo Mode.
  3. Tap End in the top left to go back to Single Photo Mode.

How to enable Multi-Photo mode in Magnifier on iOS 15 by showing: Tap View to view your freeze frames, tap the plus to go back to adding more freeze frames, tap End to go back to Single Photo mode (Image credit: iMore)

How to customize controls in Magnifier

  1. Launch the Magnifier app on your iPhone or iPad. You can also triple press the Side or Home buttons to get to the Magnifier.
  2. Tap the Settings button in the bottom left. It looks like a gear icon.

How to customize controls in Magnifier on iOS 15 by showing: Launch Magnifier, tap Settings (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the red minus button to remove secondary controls or the green plus button to add them.
  2. Touch and drag the handles on the right to rearrange the order that the controls appear in.
  3. Tap Filters to choose which filters and inverted filters you want to use regularly.
  4. Tap Done to save your changes.

How to customize controls in Magnifier on iOS 15 by showing: Tap the red minus or green plus buttons to add or remove, drag by the handle to rearrange order, tap Filters to choose what filters you wan (Image credit: iMore)

A great tool

Magnifier is just of the many Accessibility tools available on iPhones and iPad. Use it to bring physical objects much closer, just as you would an actual magnifying device.

May 2022: Updated for latest versions of iOS and iPadOS.

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.