Small print can be a challenge for anyone, even if you have excellent vision. You don’t have to pack a magnifying glass with you everywhere you go. If you have an Android phone, then you already have a magnifier.
Teensy writing isn’t the only reason you might want to have a magnifying device around. It can also handy for exploring the natural world, or sussing out serial numbers on electronics, or locating that tiny sliver on your hand.
You have a few options for turning your Android smartphone into a digital magnifying glass. There are some great apps to choose from, or you can simply harness your phone’s built-in camera app.
Use the camera app
For a quick close-up look at something, open your camera and use the zoom function to move in on an object. You can snap a photo to examine in detail if needed. This can work well in a pinch, but a dedicated magnifying app will ultimately be more satisfying if it’s a feature you want to use fairly often.
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Get a magnifier app
The Google Play store is full of apps that can act like a magnifying glass. Here are three top contenders:
Magnifier, Magnifying Glass with Flashlight
This free Magnifier app puts a lot of controls at your fingertips. You will need to give it permission to use your camera first. You can control brightness and zoom using the sliders or with gestures. Tap to focus the image and tap the lightning bolt symbol to turn on your flash for dark situations. There is a $1.99 option to upgrade to remove the ads. All in all, this is a capable and friendly magnifier app.
The free Magnifier app from developer Melon Soft is well-reviewed and feature a clean interface with a line of icons in squares along the side and a small strip of ads along the top. This is a good option if you like the look of a simple, uncluttered screen.
Cozy Magnifier & Microscope
Google reviewers are using the Cozy Magnifier & Microscope app for a lot of different purposes, including for rockhounding and inspecting collector coins. There are a lot of controls available on the main screen, but a introductory guide will take you through what they do. For example, the light bulb triggers the flashlight feature while the microscope icon takes you into a super close-up mode. The quality of the microscope views can vary with your phone’s camera, but this app is worth playing around with if you’re looking for extra features to try out. It costs $1.99 to remove ads.
All of these apps are free to try out, so you can test them out and decide which one best fits your needs. If you use the app a lot, then you might consider spending the small upgrade fee to clear out the marketing messages.
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Bonus tip: Magnify your Android screen
Now that you have a magnifying glass handy on your phone, you might also want to explore how you can better see other things on your screen. More recent Android operating systems offer a magnification feature as part of the Accessibility settings.
Open up Settings, tap on Accessibility, and then on Magnification. Here, you can choose between “Magnify with triple-tap” and “Magnify with button.” The tap option lets you triple tap anywhere on the screen (except the keyboard or navigation bar) to zoom in. From here, you can zoom in or out by pinching or spreading two fingers, and pan around by dragging two fingers. Triple-tap again to return to your normal view. The button option gives you an icon in the shape of a person with arms outstretched. Tap on this to activate the zoom feature.