How to Get Full-Screen Pictures for iPhone Calls

A simple photo tweak will restore a contact image to full-screen glory

Smiling millennial mestizo woman talking on the phone at home

fizkes / Getty Images

Different-size photos display for some contacts versus others when you get incoming calls on your iPhone. Some are small circles in the top corner of the screen, while others are big, appealing full-screen photos. Using full-screen photos requires a few non-intuitive tweaks to your Contacts records.

Instructions in this article apply to iOS 8 and higher.

What Happened to Full-Screen Photos for Incoming iPhone Calls?

Getting a call on the iPhone used to mean that the entire screen would fill up with a picture of the person calling you — assuming you had a picture assigned to them in your Contacts app. It was an appealing, highly visual way of knowing who was calling.

That feature changed in iOS 7. With that version, the full-screen picture was replaced by a small circular version of the picture in the top corner of the incoming call screen. In iOS 8 or higher on your iPhone, however, you can get full-screen pictures for incoming calls again. 

How to Make New Photos Fullscreen for Calls

If you're adding a new photo for a contact to your iPhone, attach the photo the way you normally would:

  1. Open the Contacts app, then tap the relevant contact record.

  2. In the contact's information screen, tap Edit.

  3. Tap Add Photo. Or, tap Edit to replace a photo. 

  4. Select either Take Photo or Choose Photo.

    Three iOS screens showing Edit, add photo, and Take or Choose Photo buttons
  5. Use the iPhone camera to take a photo or choose one in your Photos app.

  6. Move and scale the photo to fit it in the circle.

  7. Tap Choose or Use Photo, depending on whether it's a new photo or a photo you already have.

  8. Tap Done.

    iOS screenshots of taking a new Contacts photo
  9. When the person whose contact you edited calls you, the photo you added to their contact info will take up the full screen on the phone.

How to Make Existing Photos Phone Full Screen

Photos that were on your phone and assigned to contacts when you upgraded to your version of the iOS to iOS 7 are slightly trickier. Those photos have been made into the small, circular images, so getting them to full-screen requires some different steps. You don't need to take a new picture; just edit the old one and you'll be back to full-screen photos.

  1. Open the Phone or Contacts app, then open the relevant person's record.

  2. Tap Edit to modify the contact record.

  3. Tap Edit underneath the current photo.

  4. Tap Edit Photo.

  5. Move the existing photo a little. You don't need to edit it. Just make a small change to its position — enough for the iPhone to register that the photo was changed in some small way.

  6. Tap Choose.

    Three iOS screens showing how to edit a Contact
  7. Tap Done.

    Two iOS screens showing Done button in Contact and full-screen photo during a phone call
  8. The next time this person calls you, you'll see them in full-screen.

There is one downside to this technique: there's no setting to control this feature for all your contacts. Repeat this process for every photo you want to be full-screen for incoming calls.