How to Enlarge Text on an iPhone– the right way

When it comes to text size on an iPhone, one size does not fit all! Adjust text size on an app by app basis with this quick and easy method.

Our trip through the iOS Settings continues with this super-tip about enlarging text on an iPhone (or iPad). There’s a better way to do it, even if you already know how.

There are three ways to enlarge text on an iPhone:

  1. The way everyone knows about, which enlarges everything
  2. The way some people know about, which also enlarges everything but offers even bigger text sizes
  3. The really cool way that hardly anyone knows about, which lets you enlarge text when you want to, and change it back to a more normal size when you want to, without taking a trip to the Settings app. This is the right way. And the best way.

For completeness I’ll show you all three ways but you’ll get the best results with “the really cool way.” Which is also the right way. And the best way.

How to Enlarge Text on an iPhone (the way everyone knows)

Go to Settings, then Displays & Brightness, then scroll down and use the slider to adjust text size. Everything gets bigger. You’ll probably have to experiment a bit to get it just right. Notice that the very biggest option is not really all that big. But at least you can make things bigger (here’s a before-and-after picture showing Mail).

Mail app: default text size on the left, enlarged text size on the right
Mail app: default text size on the left, enlarged text size on the right

How to Enlarge Text on an iPhone (the way some people know about, with a larger maximum text size)

Maybe you want the text to be bigger than the biggest size shown in Displays & Brightness— or at least you want to have that option. Go to Settings, then Accessibility, then Display & Text Size, then turn on Larger Text. This lets you set the text to a much larger size than you could have with this option switched off. While you’re in there you can use the slider to specify the size you want. (If you now go back to Displays & Brightness you will see the new higher high end, so you won’t have to go to Accessibility to make further adjustments.)

Really big text, thanks to turning on Larger Text in Accessibility/Display & Text Size
Really big text, thanks to turning on Larger Text in Accessibility/Display & Text Size. Now THAT’s enlarged text!

The problem with enlarging text sizes in the Settings app is you have to go to the Settings app! It’s at least a few steps:

  1. Go to the Home screen (or if you have the Settings app open, switch to that app)
  2. Find and launch the Settings app
  3. Scroll to Displays & Brightness
  4. Make your adjustment
  5. Switch back to the app you were using

As a practical matter, you’re not likely to do this very often, because it’s a pain. You’re probably going to choose a larger text size once, and then leave it alone, even though some apps are better with bigger text while others are almost unusable with larger text, and even though you might need larger text at night (like me) but are fine with small text during the day. You leave it alone because it’s too much trouble to go to the Settings app, scroll around, make your changes, etc.

This is why the third way of enlarging text is so great: it makes it easy for you to enlarge (and decrease) text on an iPhone, on the fly, without leaving the app you’re using.

How to Enlarge Text on an iPhone (the really cool way, which turns out to be very handy because you can quickly enlarge text, and then change it back to a more normal size when you need to, without a trip to the Settings app).

The really cool way to enlarge text on an iPhone is to use the Control Center, that handy panel that pulls down from the right “ear” on newer, Face ID iPhones (or pulls up from below the screen on older, Home Button iPhones). It’s quick and easy to access the Control Center, tap on the Text Size icon, enlarge (or decrease) text size, then return to your app.

What? You don’t see Text Size in your Control Center? Of course you don’t. It’s not standard. But you can easily add the Text Size button to the Control Center— read my article on how to modify the Control Center to learn how.

On my iPhone the Control Center looks like this (because I read the article about how to add buttons to it, and then I added some):

Control Center showing Text Size button
Control Center showing Text Size button

After tapping the Text Size button you can quickly and easily change text sizes, as shown below. Exit the Text Size screen by tapping in any blank area, then exit the Control Center by doing that again. Presto, you’re back at your app, with your new text size.

Before and after enlarging text via the Text Size slider in Control Center
Go from this… to THIS! The words “Text Size” reflect the size you’ve chosen.

I use this method fairly frequently: every evening (my eyes get tired at night and I need me some larger text), and every morning (my eyes are better after a night of rest, so I change the text back to normal so I can fit more stuff on the screen). It’s really convenient to be able to change text sizes so easily– if it weren’t so easy I would probably go with the larger text all the time (which is not ideal as it cuts off text messages and emails in the list view and notifications, among other things).

Note: if you haven’t gone to Settings, then Accessibility, then Display & Text Size, and then turned on Larger Text, you won’t see as many steps in the Text Size adjustment slider. The picture on the left shows how it looks when you haven’t turned on Larger Text. The picture on the right has Larger Text turned on. Notice that the words “Text Size” are larger than the same words in the picture on the left, by far. You get much more range (and more steps) when you turn on Larger Text in Accessibility/Display & Text Size.

Control Center Text Size sliders with Larger Text off (left picture) and on (right picture)
Control Center Text Size sliders with Larger Text off (left picture) and on (right picture)

So that’s it! You now know the really cool, best, and right way to enlarge text on an iPhone:

  1. Add the Text Size button to your Control Center
  2. Turn on Larger Text in the Accessibility section of your iPhone’s Settings app

… and then always use the Control Center to quickly access the Text Size button, saving time and trouble every time.


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Author: Christian Boyce

Christian Boyce is a Mac and iPhone expert specializing in teaching people how to use Apple devices better, to get more done with them, and to have more fun doing it. He bought his first Mac (a Mac Plus) in 1986 and his first iPhone in 2007. He's written books and magazine articles, and given seminars at Macworld Expo, MacFair/LA, and the California Computer Expo. Over 30 years in the business.

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