Make your smartphone easier to read

Lynn Wright / 14 June 2016

Don’t struggle trying to read tiny text on your iPhone or Android smartphone. Follow our five simple tips for making onscreen text easier to read.

Smartphones may be getting larger, yet reading the tiny type on your screen can still be a challenge, especially if your eyesight is less than perfect. But there’s no need to don glasses or squint: both iOS and Android  have handy accessibility settings that help make your smartphone easier to read.

Make text larger

Both iOS and Android have settings that let you change the size of your onscreen fonts – from slightly larger than normal to downright whopping. Changes won’t apply across the board however. On an iPhone for example, the text in Apple’s apps including Mail, Messages and Contacts will reflect the change but webpage text will still be small and some apps may not change. To make text extra large:

iOS:  Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Larger Text. Turn on the Larger Accessibility Sizes switch and then drag the slider to adjust text size.

Android: Tap Settings > Display > Font Size, then choose one of the four setting: Small, Normal, Large or Huge.

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Make text bold

Give your iPhone text a bold effect to make it stand out. Tap Settings > Display & Brightness, then toggle on Bold Text. Restart your iPhone for this change to take effect.

Increase contrast

The iPhone’s transparent layers and blurs can make reading content difficult. Fortunately, there are several settings that can help. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Increase Contrast. Turn on Reduce Transparency to make items such as menus appear solid, and so easier to read. Try turning on the other two options to see if they help too.

Android offers a high contrast setting that adds an outline to text to make it more readable. To turn it on, tap Settings > Accessibility and toggle the switch next to High contrast text.

Invert screen colours
Most people prefer to read dark text on a white background but overbright screens can cause eyestrain, particularly when using your smartphone at night or if you suffer poor vision. A simple trick is to invert your phone’s screen colours, so text appears white on a black background. However, as all screen colours invert and photos appear as negatives, use this feature only as needed, then switch back to the phone’s default colour scheme.

iOS: Tap Settings > General > Accessibility, then toggle the Invert Colors switch on.

Android: Tap Settings > Accessibility then toggle on Colour inversion.

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Zoom the screen

Rather than changing text sizes and fonts, use your smartphone’s magnification features to zoom the screen so you can read it more easily, whatever app you’re using.

iOS: Tap Settings > Accessibility > Zoom, then toggle the Zoom switch on. To use, double-tap your iPhone’s display with three fingertips, keeping them on the screen after the second tap. The zoom controller appears, magnifying part of your screen. Drag your fingertips up to zoom in, down to zoom out. You can also drag with three fingertips to pan around the zoomed-in screen, then double-tap with three fingertips to return to a normal view.

Android: Tap Settings > Accessibility > Vision > Magnification gestures, then toggle the switch on. To use, triple-tap your phone’s display and the screen will zoom in. Pinch the screen to zoom more, or pan around it by swiping with two fingertips. Triple tap the screen to return to normal view.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.