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How to make text easier to read on Android, iOS, and the web

Stop straining your eyes to see what’s on your screen

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Lately, I’ve started to notice more and more moments when I’m squinting at a screen and thinking, “The text here sure is tricky to read. Wonder when they made it so small?”

It’s not just the need for reading glasses that can make you wish the words on your display were a teensy bit bigger. Maybe you’re looking at a monitor from across the room during a presentation. Maybe you’ve misplaced your glasses or just realized you need a new prescription. Or maybe your eyes are just plain tired after a long night of binging your favorite show.

Whatever the cause, most modern computing platforms make it pretty easy to increase the size of text and decrease the amount of squinting required. Here’s how to make it happen.

Larger text with Android

To increase text size:

  • Open up your system settings, and head into the “Accessibility” section
  • Tap the “Font size” option, then move the slider at the bottom of the screen toward the right to make the text as large as you’d like

To make everything — including notifications, the clock, and icons on your home screen — larger:

  • Go back to the “Accessibility” menu
  • Tap on the “Display size” option (it’s available on phones running 2016’s Android 7.0 Nougat release and higher)
  • Adjust your screen’s resolution to where you’re comfortable

The Chrome Android browser has its own separate setting for increasing text size across the web:

  • Open Chrome, tap the three-dot menu icon in the upper-right corner, and select “Settings”
  • Tap “Accessibility,” then adjust the “Text scaling” slider until the text is comfortable for you to read

You can also activate a system-wide magnification feature that’ll let you zoom in on any area of your screen to make it meaningfully larger.

  • Go back to the “Accessibility” section
  • Tap on the “Magnification” option
  • You will have the choice of either magnifying with a triple-tap or using an “Accessibility” button. Tap on the feature you’d like to activate, and turn it on.
  • If you enable the “Accessibility” button, you’ll then see a small icon that looks like a person on the far right of your bottom icon bar. When you tap on that and then drag your finger around your screen, the contents will be considerably magnified.

Larger text with iOS

  • Open up your system settings and tap “Display & Brightness”
  • Tap the “Text Size” option, then move the slider at the bottom of the screen to make the text as large as you’d like
  • If you want to make the text even larger than that slider will allow, go back to the main settings menu, tap “General” > “Accessibility” > “Larger text.” That’ll let you increase the text size substantially using the same slider at the bottom of the screen.

Like Android, iOS also has a system-wide magnification function, which you can activate by heading into the “Accessibility” area:

  • Go to Settings > General > Accessibility
  • Tap on “Zoom,” and toggle the feature on

You will now have a window that you can move around the screen to magnify anything on that screen. Double-tap with three fingers to remove the window or bring it back again.

Larger text on the web

Most desktop web browsers have simple keyboard commands for increasing the text size on the fly. (Most also have these same commands available in their menus, but using keyboard commands is going to be a lot faster and easier.)

On a Windows system:

  • In Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge, press Ctrl and the plus key (+) to make text larger, or Ctrl and the minus key (-) to make it smaller.

On a Chrome OS system:

  • In any browser window, press Ctrl and the plus key (+) to make text larger, or Ctrl and the minus key (-) to make it smaller.

On a Mac system:

  • In Chrome, press the option + command + plus key (+) to make text larger, or the option + command + minus key (-) to make text smaller.
  • In Firefox and Safari, press the command and the plus key (+) to make text larger, and the command + minus key (-) to make text smaller.

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