How to Use Zoom, Apple's Built-In Screen Magnifier

Use Zoom on Mac or iOS devices to magnify text and images

What to Know

  • On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Zoom.
  • Check the box next to Use Keyboard shortcuts to zoom or Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom.
  • Choose Advanced to set a magnification range, change the mouse cursor size, and other settings.

This article explains how to enable the Zoom feature on a Mac and how to use its advanced features. It also includes information on how to use Zoom on iOS devices. This article applies to Macs with macOS Big Sur (11.0), macOS Catalina (10.15), or macOS Mojave (10.14), and iOS devices operating on iOS 14, iOS 13, or iOS 12.

How to Activate Zoom Settings on a Mac

Zoom is a screen magnification accessibility tool available on all macOS and iOS products. On Mac devices, Zoom can magnify on-screen content (including text, graphics, and video) up to 40 times its original size. Follow these steps to activate and edit basic Zoom settings on macOS.

  1. Navigate to System Preferences > Accessibility.

    Accessibility options icon from macOS System Preferences

    Open System Preferences from the Apple menu in the upper-left corner or by searching for it in the Spotlight app.

  2. Select Zoom under Vision on the left menu.

    Zoom tool from Accessibility settings on macOS
  3. Choose Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom to use your keyboard only. Select Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom to use your keyboard combined with a mouse or trackpad to zoom in and out.

    Keyboard and scroll gesture settings for the Zoom tool on macOs

    To modify Zoom keyboard shortcuts or enable trackpad gestures, select Advanced > Controls.

How to Use Advanced Zoom Settings on macOS

From Accessibility > Vision > Zoom, use the Advanced button to change the appearance of zoomed images, zoom percentage, and other specific settings.

Change Screen Image Settings

From the Appearance tab, select the box next to one of three ways that the Zoom lens image will move while zoomed in:

  • Select Continuously with pointer to have the Zoom lens image tightly follow the mouse cursor.
  • Select Only when the pointer reaches an edge to have the Zoom lens image trail the mouse cursor, only moving when it reaches the edge of the lens image.
  • Select So the pointer is at or near the center of the zoomed image to have the zoom lens image move with the cursor, but not as tightly as with the first option.
Zoom screen image settings on macOS

Set a Magnification Range

Set a magnification range to prevent images from becoming too large or too small when zoomed in or out. From the Controls tab, use the two slider scales to choose a minimum and maximum zoom range.

Toggle ranges for zooming in and out on macOS

Change the Mouse Cursor Size

Enlarge the size of the mouse cursor to make it easier to see when you use Zoom. From System Preferences > Accessibility, select Display > Cursor size. Use the slider to adjust the size of the cursor. Whatever size you choose will remain even after you log out, restart, or shut down the device.

Cursor size options from macOS Accessibility settings

How to Use Zoom on iOS

Zoom can be used on iOS devices as well, though the magnification range is smaller. It can magnify up to 15 times.​​ All the standard iOS gestures—tap, flick, pinch, and rotate—still work while Zoom mode is on.

You can use Zoom and VoiceOver screen reader simultaneously on your iOS device, but be aware that touch gestures could interfere with Zoom gestures.

  1. On your iOS device, select Settings > Accessibility > Zoom. Toggle the Zoom button to the right to activate it.

  2. To zoom in, double-tap with three fingers. Zoom further by double-tapping and then dragging three fingers up or down. Move around the screen by dragging three fingers. To move the zoom lens image faster, flick rather than drag your three fingers.

    To keep track of typing, choose Follow Focus. This setting keeps the Zoom lens image beside the text cursor as you type.

  3. To use a visual controller to make adjustments, select Zoom Controller > Show Controller to use the on-screen Zoom menu.

    Instead of showing the controller at all times, use a three-finger double-tap to bring up the controller on the fly from the Zoom menu. Use the other options to zoom in, change the zoom region, or add a filter.

    Zoom settings on iOS
Was this page helpful?