How to use Zoom on Mac

You can zoom in on apps using the trackpad on your Mac laptop or gestures on the Magic Mouse, but with the Zoom accessibility feature, you can zoom in on the whole screen. You can do it with keyboard shortcuts or by using your mouse's scroll function along with modifier keys.

Here's how!

How to enable keyboard shortcuts for Accessibility zoom

By pressing a series of three keys, all at the same time, you can zoom your Mac's entire screen (not just an app window, like Safari).

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click the checkbox next to Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom to enable the feature. The shortcuts are:

    • Toggle zoom: Command-Option-8
    • Zoom in: Command-Option-=
    • Zoom out: Command-Option- -
    • Toggle smooth images: Command-Option-\

      Click Zoom, click the checkbox next to Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom

"Smooth images" means that, when super zoomed in, images have softer edges and don't look so heavily pixelated. This is useful if an image has words on it.

How to enable the scroll gesture with modifier keys for Accessibility zoom

By pressing a key, while at the same time as using the trackpad or mouse to scroll, you can zoom in your Mac's entire screen (not just an app window, like Safari).

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click the checkbox next to Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom.

    Click Zoom, click the checkbox next to Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom

  6. Click the dropdown menu to select a modifier key.
  7. Click a modifier key. You can use Control, Alt, or Command.

    • You can add any combination of those by clicking in the box and typing. You can also add Shift into the mix and use all four if you really want to (but you don't).

      Click the dropdown menu, click a modifier key

How to change the zoom style

You can zoom in on the whole screen or you can use picture-in-picture, which displays a zoom window on your screen that looks similar to a rectangular magnifying glass. The window will follow your cursor and move around on the screen.

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click the dropdown menu next to Zoom style.
  6. Click Picture-in-picture to enable the magnifying glass style zoom window.

    Click Zoom. click the dropdown menu next to Zoom style, click Full screen or Picture-in-picture

When in Fullscreen, just move your mouse around your screen to move the zoom around. When using picture-in-picture, just move the window around with your mouse or trackpad.

How to customize Fullscreen Zoom magnification

When you have Fullscreen selected as your Zoom style, you have the option to customize the minimum and maximum zoom. When the maximum zoom is increased, you'll automatically zoom in that far when you press the keyboard shortcut to zoom in (Command-Option-8).

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click Options next to Fullscreen.

    Click Zoom in the menu on the left, click Options next to Fullscreen

  6. Click and drag the sliders next to Maximum Zoom and Minimum Zoom to set each. You can start at 0 and magnify as much as 40x. If you hit the hotkeys to zoom in, you'll immediately zoom in to the Maximum Zoom you've set.
  7. Click OK when you're finished.

    Click and drag the sliders next to Maximum Zoom and Minimum Zoom, click OK when finished

How to manage Fullscreen Zoom behaviors

Make sure Fullscreen Zoom is enabled before trying to enable these features.

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click Options next to Fullscreen.

    Click Zoom in the menu on the left, click Options next to Fullscreen

  6. Click the checkboxes to enable showing a preview rectangle when zoomed out, temporarily toggling zoom, temporarily detaching the zoom view, and flashing the screen when a notification banner appears.
  7. Click OK when you're done.

    Click checkboxes, click OK

How to change how the screen moves in Fullscreen Zoom

Make sure Fullscreen Zoom is enabled before trying to enable this feature.

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click Options next to Fullscreen.

    Click Zoom in the menu on the left, click Options next to Fullscreen

  6. Click a movement option under When zoomed in, the screen image moves:
    • Continuously with pointer
    • Only when the pointer reaches an edge
    • So the pointer is at or near the center of the screen
  7. Click OK when you're finished.

    Click a movement option, click OK

How to change the window position for Picture-in-picture Zoom

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click Options next to Picture-in-picture.

    Click Zoom in the menu on the left, click Options next to Picture-in-picture

  6. Click an option next to Window position:
    • Stationary
    • Follow mouse cursor
    • Tiled along edge
  7. Click Done when you're finished.

    Click an option next to Window position, click Done

How to change the cursor style for Picture-in-picture Zoom

With Picture-in-picture Zoom enabled, you can change the cursor from a pointer to crosshairs if you'd prefer.

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click Options next to Picture-in-picture.

    Click Zoom in the menu on the left, click Options next to Picture-in-picture

  6. Click an option next to Cursor style:
    • System cursor
    • Crosshair
  7. Click Done when you're finished.

    Click an option next to Cursor style, click Done

How to manage picture-in-picture Zoom behaviors

While using Picture-in-picture zoom, you can invert the colors you see in the Zoom window, temporarily toggle zoom, and even detach the zoom view from the pointer. Here's how.

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click Options next to Picture-in-picture.

    Click Zoom in the menu on the left, click Options next to Picture-in-picture

  6. Click the checkboxes to invert colors, temporarily toggling zoom, and temporarily detaching the zoom view from the pointer.
  7. Click Done.

    Click checkboxes, click Done

How to change the speak delay for Zoom

If you have Speech enabled on your Mac, you can change the number of seconds it takes for the system to speak the words under your mouse.

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the sidebar.
  5. Click the checkbox next to Speak items under mouse after delay.

    Click Zoom, click checkbox

  6. Click and drag the slider next to Speak items under mouse after delay. Right is a longer delay; left is shorter.

    Adjust slider

How to adjust the size and location of the Picture-in-picture Zoom window

  1. Click the Apple menu button on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  5. Click Options next to Picture-in-picture.

    Click Zoom in the menu on the left, click Options next to Picture-in-picture

  6. Click Adjust Size and Location.
  7. Click and drag the corners of the window to change its size.
  8. Click on and drag the window around the screen to change its location. Wherever you leave it, it'll stay.
  9. Click OK in the center of the window when you're satisfied.
  10. Click Done when you're finished.

    Click Adjust Size and Location, drag to change the size of the window, click and drag to move it, click Done when finished

Zoom in macOS Catalina

Many of zoom's behaviors are the same in macOS Catalina, but there are some important differences that you should know about.

How to manage Zoom appearance in macOS Catalina

In macOS Catalina, the settings for zoom appearance apply to all three zoom settings: Full screen, split-screen, and picture-in-picture, with one small exception.

  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Accessibility.

    Open System Preferences, click Accessibility

  3. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  4. Click Advanced…

    Click Zoom, click Advanced...

  5. Click a movement option under When zoomed in, the screen image moves:
    • Continuously with pointer
    • Only when the pointer reaches an edge
    • So the pointer is at or near the center of the screen
  6. Click the checkboxes to enable the following options:

    • Inverting colors
    • Smoothing images
    • Flashing the screen when a notification banner appears
    • Following keyboard focus
    • Keep zoom window stationary (picture-in-picture and split-screen only)

    Click movement options, click checkboxes

  7. Click Adjust Size and Location if you're using the picture-in-picture or split-screen styles.
  8. Click and drag the corners of the window to change its size.
  9. Click on and drag the window around the screen to change its location. Wherever you leave it, it'll stay.
  10. Click OK in the center of the window when you're satisfied.
  11. Click OK when you're finished.

    Click Adjust Size and Location, click OK

How to customize zoom controls in macOS Catalina

Just as with appearance, the settings for zoom controls apply to all zoom styles in macOS Catalina.

  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Accessibility.

    Open System Preferences, click Accessibility

  3. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  4. Click Advanced…

    Click Zoom, click Advanced...

  5. Click the Controls tab.
  6. Click the checkboxes to enable the following options:

    • Holding Control-Option/Alt to temporarily toggle zoom
    • Holding Control-Command to temporarily detach the zoom view from the pointer.
    • Pressing Option/Alt-Command-F to toggle between full screen and picture-in-picture zoom
    • Using keyboard shortcuts to adjust the zoom window
    • Using a trackpad gesture to zoom

    Click Controls, click checkboxes

  7. Click and drag the sliders next to Maximum Zoom and Minimum Zoom to set each. You can start at 0 and magnify as much as 40x. If you hit the hotkeys to zoom in, you'll immediately zoom in to the Maximum Zoom you've set.
  8. Click OK when you're finished.

    Drag sliders, click OK

Questions?

Got a question about Zoom on Mac? Let us know in the comments below!

Updated July 2019: Updated instructions for macOS 10.14.5, and added some for macOS Catalina.

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