Android phone up close.

You can enlarge the text and icons on your phone, but what if you don’t want everything to be huge all the time? Android has a handy tool that allows you to zoom in on the screen whenever you want.

Android devices include a suite of accessibility tools you may not know about. One of those tools is called “Magnification.” It’s a gesture/shortcut that lets you zoom in when there’s something you need help seeing. It’s only there when you need it.

RELATED: How to Change the Size of Text, Icons, and More in Android

To get started, swipe down once or twice—depending on your phone—to reveal the Quick Settings menu. Select the gear icon to go to the system settings.

Scroll down and tap “Accessibility.”

Select "Accessibility."

Now select “Magnification.” On a Samsung device, you’ll need to go to “Visibility Enhancements” before you see the Magnification tool.

Select "Magnification."

Toggle the switch on to enable the “Magnification Shortcut.”

Enable the "Magnification Shortcut."

Here’s where things will vary depending on your device and Android version. Android 12 introduced a visible Magnification Shortcut that floats on the edge of the screen.

Tap the floating shortcut.

Previous versions of Android have a two-finger gesture to bring up the magnification modes. Simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen with two fingers.

Swipe up with two fingers.

Some devices also have a “Magnification Type” menu, which gives you the option to decide how the screen will zoom in.

Magnification types.

Whether you have the shortcut or two-finger gesture, there are a number of other gestures you’ll need to know after you use it.

Let’s say you want to zoom in on the screen and interact with it while it’s enlarged:

  1. Start Magnification with the shortcut or gesture.
  2. Tap the screen.
  3. Drag 2 fingers to move around the screen.
  4. Pinch with 2 fingers to adjust zoom.
  5. Use the shortcut/gesture to stop magnification.

Alternatively, if you just want to quickly zoom in on something, you can do it this way:

  1. Start Magnification with the shortcut or gesture.
  2. Touch and hold anywhere on the screen.
  3. Drag finger to move around the screen.
  4. Lift finger to stop magnification.
Note: The temporary zoom gesture only works with the “Full Screen” magnification type.

This is a great tool to know about if you sometimes have trouble seeing things on the display but don’t want to commit to a giant UI full time. Android has a lot of great accessibility tools if you know where to look for them.

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Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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