My iPhone Icons Are Large. What's Happening?

iPhone zoom
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I hear all the time from readers who are struggling with iPhone icons that are too large. They're filling the entire screen, making it hard or sometimes impossible to see the rest of their apps and options. To make matters worse, pressing the Home button doesn't help.

This isn't as bad as it may seem, though. Fixing large iPhone icons is actually pretty easy.

The Cause of Large iPhone Icons

When the iPhone's icons are enlarged or magnified, it's almost always a result of someone accidentally turning on the iPhone's Zoom feature.

This is an accessibility feature designed to help people with eyesight problems enlarge items on the screen so they can see them better. When it's turned on by mistake for someone with no issues with their eyesight, though, it causes problems.

How to Zoom Out to Normal Size

To unzoom your device and return your icons to normal size, hold three fingers together and double tap the screen with all three fingers at once. This will bring you back to the normal size icons you're used to seeing.

How to Turn Off Zoom on iPhone

To prevent screen zoom from being turned on again, you need to turn off the feature. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by tapping the Settings app to open it.
  2. Scroll down to General and tap that.
  3. Tap Accessibility (at the bottom of the screen in iOS 6 and earlier, near the top in iOS 7 and higher).
  4. On that screen, tap Zoom
  5. On the Zoom screen, slide the Zoom slider to Off (in iOS 6 or earlier) or move the slider to white (in iOS 7 or higher).

    How to Turn Off Zoom in iTunes

    If you're unable to turn off magnification directly on your iPhone, you can also disable the setting using iTunes. To do that:

    1. Sync your iPhone to your computer.
    2. Click the iPhone icon in the top corner of iTunes.
    3. On the main iPhone management screen, scroll down to the Options section and click Configure Accessibility.
    1. In the window that pops up, click Neither in the Seeing menu.
    2. Click OK.
    3. Resync the iPhone.

    This should restore your iPhone to its normal magnification and prevent the enlargement from happening again.

    iOS Devices Affected

    The Zoom feature is available on the iPhone 3GS and newer, the 3rd generation iPod touch and newer, and all iPad models.

    If you have one of these devices and your icons are large or magnified, Zoom is the most likely culprit, so try these steps first. If they won't work, something stranger is going on. You may want to consult Apple directly for help with that.

    Using Display Zoom and Dynamic Type to Improve Readability

    While this kind of magnification makes it harder for most people to their iPhones, there are a couple of features that can enlarge text and other aspects of the iPhone to make them easier to read and use:

    • Dynamic Type is a feature in iOS 7 and up that allows you to enlarge text (but nothing else) throughout your iPhone and compatible apps to make reading easier. Learn how to use Dynamic Type here.
    • Display Zoom is available on the iPhone 6 series and newer. It allows users of those phones to enlarge everything on those larger screens to make things easier to see and use. Learn how to enable Display Zoom here.