The iPhone has included a real-world magnifying glass called “Magnifier” since iOS 10, but it remained relatively obscure until iOS 14 when it received significant upgrades such as a new interface, hideable controls, a customizable toolbar, improved filters management, multi-image shooting, and people detection. But one of the best things about the update is that it can simply be opened more easily.
The accessibility feature comes in handy for people with vision issues who need to zoom in on everyday items to see them better. Even if you don’t have any vision problems, Magnifier is useful for seeing things from far away. For example, viewing the hours of a business from the parking lot without ever leaving your car or looking at the fine print on a tiny paper document or menu.
In the past, you could only open the Magnifier tool using the Accessibility Shortcut, where you would just triple-click the Home or Side button to access it, or using the optional Control Center toggle. Those ways still exist and are handy for sure, but since iOS 14, we’ve found at least four more options for opening Magnifier, many of which can be more convenient.
Enable Magnifier Before You Start
Before you use any of the options below, you must first turn the Magnifier feature on. To do so, go to Settings –> Accessibility –> Magnifier, then toggle the switch on.
Option 1: Triple-Click the Home or Side Button
The traditional way to open Magnifier is to triple-click the Home or Side button on your iPhone. If you don’t have any other Accessibility features turned on, triple-clicking Home or Side will open Magnifier automatically, as long as it’s enabled.
If this isn’t the case, go to Settings –> Accessibility –> Accessibility Shortcut, and choose “Magnifier.”
Option 2: Use the Control Center Toggle
Another way to quickly access Magnifier, which has been around since iOS 11, is to use its optional control in the Control Center. To add the control, go to Settings –> Control Center. Next, scroll down and tap the green plus (+) button next to Magnifier to move it to your list of Included Controls. If you want to move the Magnifier control’s location in Control Center, press down on it and drag it to its new spot.
Now, swipe down from the top right of your iPhone (on Face ID models), or swipe up from the bottom of the screen (on Touch ID models), to bring up the Control Center. Then, tap on the Magnifier control, which has a magnifying glass icon.
Option 3: Use the Hidden App Icon
If you’re running iOS 14 or later, a hidden app icon for Magnifier will reveal itself on your home screen after turning the feature on in Settings. To open Magnifier, just tap its app icon.
If you don’t see the Magnifier app icon anywhere on your home screen, you can find it in your App Library instead. Then, if you want faster access to it, you can add it to your home screen. Swipe left on your home screen until you reach the App Library, find Magnifier in the library, then press down on it and drag it to your home screen.
Option 4: Tap the Back of Your iPhone
Back Tap, which allows you to run multiple actions by tapping on the back of your iPhone, can be used to open and use Magnifier. To do so, go to Settings –> Accessibility –> Touch –> Back Tap. Next, choose one of the tapping options (for two or three taps) and select “Magnifier,” which will appear under Accessibility.
Any time you double or triple tap on the Apple logo on the rear of your iPhone, the shortcut will run and launch Magnifier. If the feature is disabled in the Accessibility settings, it will stop Back Tap from working with Magnifier until you enable it again.
Option 5: Ask Siri
As long as Magnifier is enabled, you can easily ask Siri to launch the accessibility feature. All you need to say is “Open Magnifier,” and Siri will open Magnifier; You could not do this in iOS 13 and earlier. If the Magnifier feature is not toggled on, Siri will mention that it cannot open it.
Option 6: Run a Shortcut (Doesn’t Require You to Enable Magnifier)
Lastly, a third-party option doesn’t even require you to have Magnifier enabled to open and use the tool. As long as you have iOS 14 or later, you can download and use the Open Magnifier shortcut from RoutineHub user G30. Use the direct link below to add the shortcut, or you can get it from RoutineHub.
After opening the shortcut link, you’ll either be redirected to Shortcuts, or you’ll have to tap on “Get Shortcut” to open Shortcuts. In the Shortcuts app, you can then preview the shortcut’s actions. To add the shortcut to your library, tap on “Add Untrusted Shortcut.” (If it doesn’t work, go to Settings –> Shortcuts, and make sure “Allow Untrusted Shortcuts” is enabled.)
You can then run the shortcut in several different ways, some of them previously mentioned, without having Magnifier enabled; you can run it directly from Shortcuts, from your home screen, using Back Tap, with Siri, etc. Below, I’m running the shortcut from a widget on my home screen.
To run it from a widget, you’ll need to add the Open Magnifier shortcut to a shortcut list, add the list to a widget, and then add the widget to your home screen or Today View. Check out our guide on recreating the Favorites widget in iOS 14 and later to get an idea of how it’s done.
Then, simply tap on the Open Magnifier widget, and it will run the feature.
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