Zoom In and Zoom Out On iPhone or iPad

Zooming is super simple to do — never squint again!

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Alexander Trajanov/Getty Images  

One of the coolest features Apple brought to its iPad and iPhone was the pinch-to-zoom gesture, making zooming in and out intuitive and natural. Previously, zoom features were either nonexistent or too difficult to use on a regular basis.

Apple's zoom feature works on photos and web pages and across any app that supports the pinch-zoom gesture.

Using Pinch Gestures to Zoom In and Out 

To zoom in on a photo or web page, simply press on the screen with your index finger and thumb leaving only a small amount of space between them. Keeping your finger and thumb on the screen, move them away from each other, expanding the space between them. As your fingers move apart, the screen zooms in.

To zoom out, do the reverse: Move your thumb and index finger toward each other while keeping them pressed to the screen.

Really, any two fingers could be used to zoom in and out on an iPhone or iPad, but for most people, the thumb and index finger make the most sense.

If it helps you remember, think of your fingers pinching a piece of paper. If you were to drag your fingers inward on a sheet of paper, it would fold into itself, becoming smaller. The same idea applies here.

Using the Accessibility Zoom Setting

In some cases, the pinch-to-zoom feature doesn't work. An app might not support the gesture, or a web page may have code running or a stylesheet setting that prevents the page from being expanded.

The iPad's accessibility features include a zoom that always works no matter if you're in an app, on a web page, viewing photos, etc.

The feature isn't activated by default, so you must turn it on in the Setting app:

  1. Open the Settings app from the home screen.

  2. Go to General > Accessibility > Zoom.

    iPhone settings, general, and accessibility pages
  3. Tap the button next to Zoom to make it green and turn it on.

Once you've activated zoom on your iPad or iPhone, you'll immediately see the magnifying glass, like shown here on an iPad.

iPad Zoom setting

The zoom functionality isn't captured in a screenshot, as you can see in this picture.

Press and hold down on the anchor/bar at the bottom of the zoom window to move it around the screen and see everything zoomed up. You can also press-and-drag three fingers, which might be preferred when zooming with this tool on a smaller screen like an iPhone.

Double-tap the screen with three fingers to enable or disable zoom. To permanently disable it, you have to repeat the steps above and toggle Zoom to the off position.

On the Zoom settings page are a list of options you can enable, such as to increase the maximum zoom level, choose full screen zoom over window zoom, pick a zoom filter, and more.