iOS 10 lets you easily use your iPhone as a magnifying glass

Three presses of your iPhone’s Home button is all it takes to turn it into a quick and very useful magnifying glass – provided you’re running iOS 10, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and you’ve enabled this new feature.

To enable Magnifier on your iPhone, just go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Magnifier, and turn it on. It works on iPad and iPod touch, too.

Now, whenever you triple-press your Home button, you’ll enter Magnifier.

Lock focus by tapping on the padlock, freeze the image with the big round button, use the slider to zoom. Magnifier also lets you enable the flash light, plus you can choose to adjust the brightness, contrast, and color scheme by tapping on the filters icon.

iOS 10 lets you use easily your iPhone as a magnifying glass
iOS 10 lets you use easily your iPhone as a magnifying glass

This is yet another example of Apple’s attention to detail. They know that many of us have been using the iPhone to snap photos and zoom into tiny type. Now they’ve built a wonderful, simple, intuitive app for us. Unfortunately, it’s hidden away – along with many other gems – in Accessibility. Hence this article.

If you haven’t explored Accessibility in a while, or ever, the release of iOS 10 with Magnifier gives you a perfect excuse to take a few minutes to explore Settings > General > Accessibility.

MacDailyNews Note: 11:50am EDT: Corrected “taps” to “presses” regarding the procedure for invoking Magnifier via the Home button. Thanks to MacDailyNews readers for the input!


  1. Yeah a magnifying glass, now that’s just fantastic. Attention to detail and tweaks, they all add up. Has anyone looked at the stock today? Gee whizz the way that’s moved, Apple should have looked at making the iPhone a telescope as well. How much zoom can you put in that camera.

    Dust off those “Apple hits new high” headlines MDN, this phone looks like it’s going to take off.

    1. “Dust off those “Apple hits new high” headlines MDN, this phone looks like it’s going to take off ”

      One can only hope… we’re a fair bit away from that though, it peaked at about $132.52 in May 2015.

  2. There’s a little feature that I would like to appear in IOS and I did suggest it to Apple, but am still waiting.

    Many of us frequently log into WiFi systems that we encounter on our travels. Invariably we are shown a piece of paper with the name of the network and the password. More often than not, the network name is on one line, with the password on the next.

    I would like IOS to be able to log into WiFi networks by using the camera and OCR to read those settings and apply them automatically. It would need to be smart enough to understand international terms for WiFi, such a W-net and possibly other terms for password, certainly P/W or P-W, but also any commonly used international words.

    It would be especially useful because entering a strong password can be very fiddly, with the need to change case and alpha or numeric keyboards.

    1. That’s an excellent idea. They could probably do it with printed text like the numbers on the back of an iTunes gift card, but handwriting could be problematic. Excellent idea. Did you ever get any feedback?

      1. No – I didn’t get any response from Apple, although everybody who I’ve mentioned it to says that it’s exactly the sort of feature that Apple would incorporate and the ease of use is dead right for Apple too.

        As Preddrag says, it’s completely practical and similar technology already exists within iOS. The example that I thought of was the way that an iPhone can photograph a credit card and extract the number from it in order to store the details. But in terms of usefulness, you only need to store credit card details once and then maybe whenever a new card is issued. With guest WiFi log-ins, it’s something that I do several times every week and sometimes several times in a day.

        I don’t think that Apple would implement it quite in the way that Predrag suggests, because it seems to rely on there being a colon, which is not always the case. I think that Apple could easily come up with a solution that truly recognises terms like WiFi, W-Lan, W-Net and then extract the name that follows. Similarly it would recognise the word ‘password’ in multiple languages or in abbreviated forms and then extracts whatever follows

    2. This should be completely within the realm of possible and doable for the current devices, as it doesn’t require any major processing power. There are plenty of apps that use OCR and context to populate a database, such as ScanBizCard (which automatically creates a Contacts entry after scanning and OCRing a business card. Two lines of text, each containing two parts, separated by a colon, should be easily converted into a SSID / password pair, even without understanding the meaning of words from various languages. Even the simplest version that only assumes that the second part of each line is the relevant one (SSID, pwd) would still likely succeed in vast majority of cases. A slight modification would allow user to optionally highlight the relevant components, once the scan is complete.

      This is an excellent idea, which unfortunately can only be implemented by Apple, and cannot be done by an enterprising third-party developer, as it is in the core of the iOS (WiFi settings).

        1. I think that even with the QR code, it can’t be implemented via a third-party application. I don’t think there is an API for modification of WiFi settings.

          QR code would likely be more reliable than OCR, but either of the two would only go as far as collecting the information about the network (SSID, pwd) and passing it along to the OS.

          Again, it is truly an excellent idea, especially for corporate environments. In many places, WiFi passwords change monthly (or even weekly), and are commonly printed on a sheet of paper visibly posted in the room. This prevents anyone from outside the building from mooching off, and allows anyone with a business inside to connect.

          1. And the probability of scamming, you don’t really know what a QR code says so if you scanned a “Free” one you’d be setting yourself up for a false/fake network where your data is stolen

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.