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

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

Magnifying Glass

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Zoom is a screen magnification tool available on all Mac OS X and iOS products. It allows visually impaired users to more easily view or read text and images.

On Mac devices, Zoom is capable of magnifying on-screen content—including text, graphics, and video—to up to 40 times their original size. On iOS devices, it can magnify up to 15 times.​​

Zoom is controlled through keyboard and mouse commands on Mac and touch commands on iOS. Enlarged images maintain their original clarity and do not compromise system performance, even when playing video.

How to Use Zoom on a Mac

To activate Zoom on an iMac, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro:

  1. Navigate to System Preferences. This can be accessed through the Apple menu in the top left-corner, or by typing "System Preferences" in Spotlight.

  2. Select Accessibility.

  3. Select Zoom from the Vision menu on the left.

  4. Select Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom, if you'd like to use your keyboard to control the Zoom functions. Select Use scroll gesture with modifier keys too zoom, if you'd like to use your keyboard in combination a mouse or trackpad to zoom in and out.

Zoom Settings

You can set a magnification range to prevent images from becoming too large or too small when zoomed in or out. Select More Options... and then use the two slider scales to choose a minimum and maximum zoom range.

From the same menu, you can select from 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 your mouse cursor.
  • Select Only when the pointer reaches an edge to have the zoom lens image trail your mouse cursor, moving only when it reaches the edge of the lens image.
  • Select So the pointer is at or near the center of the screen to have the zoom lens image move with your cursor, but not as tightly as with the first option.

How to Change the Mouse Cursor Size

Zoom can also enlarge the size of the mouse cursor to make it easier to see. From the Accessibility menu in System Preferences, select Display from the Vision menu on the left. Use the Cursor size 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.

How to Use Zoom on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

Zoom can be used on iOS devices as well, though the magnification range is much smaller.

Read the instructions for how to operate Zoom before turning it on, as the transition can be jarring.

  1. On your iOS device, select Settings > Accessibility > Zoom

  2. Toggle the Zoom button to activate Zoom.

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

All of the standard iOS gestures — tap, flick, pinch, and rotate — still work while the screen is magnified.

For typing, you can select Follow Focus to make the zoom lens image follow the text cursor as you type.

The Zoom menu features a number of other settings and options, including the maximum zoom level.

You cannot use Zoom and VoiceOver screen reader at the same time. If you use a wireless keyboard to control your iOS device, the enlarged image follows the mouse cursor, keeping it in the center of the lens.