AT Tip of the Week: Magnification on the iPhone or iPad

Image of cats trying to read meme

Pocket magnifiers have existed for a while.  Devices, such as the Ruby HD Handheld Video Magnifier, have allowed people with vision impairment to magnify text and images up to 13 times, freeze an image for easier viewing, and change color contrast.  While weighing as little as 8 ounces, this magnifier is yet one more thing to carry around.

In iOS 11, the iPhone and iPad have gained additional accessibility features for those with vision loss who can benefit from magnification.  The iPad camera can be used as a pocket magnifier!

Image of iPhone magnifier with yellow black contrast

The magnifier allows you to choose between different types of visual contrast: none, white/blue, yellow/blue, gray scale, yellow/black, & red/black.  Within each of these, there is a slide bar that allows you to select the level of magnification that works for you. As well, you can reverse the colors from red/black to black/red, etc…You can also adjust the brightness of the screen right within the magnifier.  

Another cool feature is the ability to freeze the frame, so that you can take a closer look at a static image.  

So, how do we set this up?  First, make sure your iPhone or iPad is running iOS 11.  Then go to the settings cog wheel. In settings → General → Accessibility → Vision.  Within the Vision category, you select the Magnifier and slide the button to enable the function.  The magnifier will then be available through the Accessibility Shortcuts. Triple click the home button to bring up the Magnifier option and select.  How to turn it off again? Double click the home button and swipe up on the camera app to turn it off.

Image of Vision Accessibility setting on iPhone

What if you don’t have an Apple product and still feel you could benefit from magnification?  Check out the PIAT AT Lending Library for low vision options, including several portable video magnifiers.  Click on the link below.

AT Lending Library: Low Vision

Kathryn Helland

Kathryn is a certified speech-language pathologist and works with children and adults with complex communication needs. She has been with the TechOWL team since 2015 and is currently working on her doctorate. She would like to examine how to best support AAC users in higher education.

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