How to Use Your iPhone as Magnifying Glass For Anything In The World

How to Use Your iPhone as Magnifying Glass For Anything In The World
Screenshot: David Murphy

The iPhone keeps you connected to the world, but there is another, more straightforward it can help you make sense of what’s going on around you: You can use its Magnifier feature like an actual magnifying glass.

This little-known option — only recently available as a standalone app — lets you zoom into and enlarge anything you point your camera at, like maybe a nutrition label printed in a minuscule font. While the camera app tops out at 5X, the Magnifier app lets you zoom in up to 10X. Magnifier also has extra features that tune the contrast and brightness, making those images even easier to see.

How to use your iPhone’s Magnifier app

Gif: Joel CunninghamGif: Joel Cunningham

Starting in iOS 15, Magnifier is available as a standalone app (previously it was only accessible via Control Centre). You’ll find it in the Utilities folder.

Once you open the app, you’ll see a camera view. You can pinch in to zoom in, or you can use the Zoom slider, below which you’ll see five icons:

  • Camera: Use this button to switch between the front-facing and the rear-facing camera.
  • Brightness: Use this slider to increase or decrease the brightness. (Increased brightness will help you spot smaller objects.)
  • Contrast: Use the slider to increase or decrease the contrast. The higher the contrast, the darker the image will get.
  • Filters: Add colour filters like Red, Greyscale, Blue on Yellow to make things easier to see.
  • Flashlight: Use this button to quickly enable the flashlight.

Tap the white Shutter button to freeze the frame. This will make it easier to read the text in photos without it jumping around as your hands move. *(This won’t save those image to the Photos app.) You can use the button in the bottom-right corner to freeze multiple frames to review later. You can also customise the controls available on this screen by tapping the Gear icon.

Add Magnifier to the Control Centre

If you want to be able to access the Magnifier quickly, you can add a shortcut to the Control Centre. Go to Settings > Control Centre and add the “Magnifier” control to the list. Swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen to open Control Centre, and tap the Magnifier icon to open the app.

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