There is a little known feature included in iOS 10 called Magnifier. It essentially turns your iPhone’s camera into a magnifying glass of sorts with a custom UI specifically for easier reading.

It’s hidden in Accessibility settings, as the feature was designed for users with vision impairment. Here’s how you can enable it.


1. Enable Magnifier in Settings

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap ‘General’, then the ‘Accessibility’ tab
  • Tap ‘Magnifier’ and tap the toggle to enable it
    • Optionally tap the toggle for Auto-Brightness to enable automatic brightness and contrast adjustments based on ambient light while using Magnifier

2. Triple-click home button to activate Magnifier

Once enabled, you can now open the Magnifier from anywhere with a quick triple-click of the home button, including from the lock screen.


3. Snap a freeze frame, zoom-in, lock focus and turn on the flash

The Magnifier UI is a customized camera UI that lets you snap a freeze frame with the circular button in the middle. 

You can zoom-in easily using the onscreen slider or by swiping up the screen before after snapping a shot. You can optionally turn on the flash if you need extra light by tapping the small lightning bolt icon in the bottom left corner.

Tapping on the display or the padlock icon in the bottom left corner will lock the focus.

You can also adjust colors…


4. How to invert & adjust colors

After you snap a freeze frame and zoom-in, you can adjust colors by tapping the small icon in the bottom right-hand corner.

That will present you with a different UI that gives you controls for brightness and contrast with onscreen sliders, the ability to invert colors, and a few presets like Yellow/Blue, Grayscale, White/Blue, etc (pictured above).

The feature was designed for those with vision impairments, allowing for easier reading of labels and other small text that might otherwise be difficult to read, and officially arrived in iOS 10 alongside a handful of other new Accessibility features.

I wrote about some of Apple’s other new Accessibility features in iOS 10 and the latest Apple TV and Apple Watch releases earlier this year.

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About the Author

Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.