My iPhone Icons Are Large: What's Happening?

iPhone zoom
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One of the weirdest problems you can run into on the iPhone is when the iPhone's screen is zoomed in and its icons are too large. In that situation, everything looks huge and app icons fill the entire screen, making it hard or even impossible to see the rest of your apps. To make matters worse, pressing the Home button doesn't help. This problem isn't as bad as it may seem, though. Fixing an iPhone with a zoomed-in screen is actually pretty easy.

These instructions apply to iOS 12 and newer.

The Cause of a Zoomed-In iPhone Screen and Huge Icons

When the iPhone's screen is magnified, it's almost always a result of someone accidentally turning on the iPhone's Zoom feature. Zoom is an accessibility feature designed to help people with eyesight problems enlarge items on the screen so they can see them better.

How to Zoom Out to Normal Size on iPhone

To restore your icons to normal size, hold three fingers together and double tap the screen with all three fingers at once. This gesture returns the zoom level to 100 percent.

If you're in zoom mode, remember the Rule of Three: A three-finger tap gesture to zoom, a three-finger double-tap (plus a pinching drag gesture) to change zoom, and drag three fingers to move around the screen. If you forget these tips, check out the Zoom menu in Settings — it lists them there.

How to Turn Off Screen Zoom on iPhone

To prevent screen zoom from being accidentally turned on again, turn off the feature:

  1. Begin by tapping the Settings app to open it.

  2. Scroll down to General and tap that.

  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Two iOS screens with General, Accessibility buttons highlighted
  4. Tap Zoom.

  5. On the Zoom screen, move the slider to white.

    Zoom in Accessibility panel and toggle to OFF in iOS settings
  6. Verify that the configuration setting persists by double-tapping three fingers on your Home screen. If nothing happens, then you've successfully disabled the Zoom feature.

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

Beginning with iTunes 12.7, released in September 2017, you cannot use iTunes to manage apps or settings on your iOS device.

What iOS Devices Are Affected by Screen Zoom

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, Zoom is the most likely culprit, so try these steps first. If they won't work, something strange is going on. You may want to consult Apple directly for help.

Using Display Zoom and Dynamic Type to Improve Readability

While this kind of screen magnification makes it harder for most people to their iPhones, lots of people still want icons and text to be a bit larger. 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: This feature in iOS 7 and up lets you enlarge text (but nothing else) throughout your iPhone and compatible apps to make reading easier.
  • Display Zoom: Available on the iPhone 6 series and newer. It lets users of those phones enlarge everything on those devices' screens to make things easier to see and use.