Looking for ways to augment or decrease the zoom levels on your Mac? Great, we’ve found multiple ways to do so and even took different ways Mac can be used into consideration. So, whether you use a Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard, or prefer to use a built-in trackpad, Magic Trackpad, or Touch Bar, we’ve got you covered. As if that wasn’t enough, we went a step further and discovered a convenient option for Mac users with severe sight problems, where even maximum zoom levels won’t suffice in daily use. With the introduction out of the way, let’s show you how to zoom in or zoom out on Mac.
Quick Answer to Zooming in and Out on Mac
To zoom in or out on a Mac, you can use the trackpad gestures: pinch your fingers together to zoom out and spread them apart to zoom in. In some applications like web browsers, you can use keyboard shortcuts Command(⌘) and “+” to zoom in, Command(⌘) and “-” to zoom out. To control zoom at the system level, you can enable “Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom” in System Preferences > Accessibility > Zoom, then hold the Control key and swipe up or down on the trackpad.
Open the Accessibility Menu for Controlling Zooming Functions
This menu controls zooming functions on Mac and will be needed for almost every method mentioned here. With that said, follow these steps to access the Accessibility menu in Mac:
- Mac versions before Big Sur. Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner and select it from the drop-down menu.
- Mac Big Sur. Find the option in the Applications, Menu Bar, or through the Control Center.
- In the sidebar on the left, select Zoom.
- Don’t close the window until you successfully apply the method you seek.
Way 1. How to zoom in or zoom out on Mac with keyboard shortcuts?
Before you can use them, double-check that Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom is enabled in Accessibility > Zoom. When it is, use the following shortcuts to increase and decrease zoom on Mac:
- To zoom in, press Option + Command + Plus (+) / Equals (=) buttons together.
- To zoom out, press Option + Command + Minus (-) / Underscore (_) buttons simultaneously.
Accidentally zoomed in or out on Mac?
To recover from a stuck zoom condition, you can press the Option + Command + Asterisk (*) buttons at the same time to revert to no zoom. Pressing the key combination again brings you back to the previous amount of zoom. Furthermore, you can press Option + Command + Backslash (\) to enable or disable image smoothing at high zoom levels.
Way 2. Zoom in or zoom out on Mac with scroll gestures
You can zoom out and in on Mac with a mouse or trackpad by scrolling, as long as you enable and utilize scroll gestures on Mac:
- Refer to the Accessibility > Zoom window.
- Put a checkmark in front of the Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom option.
- In the first drop-down list, select the keyboard key you’ll use to turn scroll gestures on. By default, it is Control.
Clarification. You’ll press and hold the assigned key while scrolling up with the mouse (roll the mouse scroll wheel up) or trackpad (hold two fingers on the trackpad, then drag them upward together) to increase zoom level. To decrease the zoom level, do the opposite – scroll down with a mouse or trackpad while holding the assigned key.
Way 3. How to change the zoom style on Mac
Under Zoom style in the Accessibility > Zoom sidebar, choose one of the following zoom modes:
- Full screen. The entire display screen will be enlarged or reduced.
- Split screen zoom. Only the top 20%-30% of the screen will be magnified out or in.
- Picture-in-picture zoom. A small rectangular portion of the screen around the cursor will be magnified in or out.
Can I configure Zoom styles?
Yes, to configure zoom styles, click on the Options… (Advanced… in Mac Big Sur) button next to the selected zoom style to open a configuration window unique for every zoom mode. Two important options that apply to all zoom styles are:
1. Appearance tab
Under the When zoomed in, the screen image moves option, select one of the following:
- Continuously with pointer
- Only when the pointer reaches an edge
- So the pointer is at or near the center of the screen
2. Controls tab
Put a checkmark in front of options that you’d like to use for magnifying:
- Hold Control + Option + Alt to temporarily toggle zoom.
- Using keyboard shortcuts to adjust the zoom window (Control + up/down arrow keys)
- Hold Control + Command to temporarily detach the zoom view from the pointer.
- Using a trackpad gesture to zoom (method 5).
- Press Alt or Option + Command + F to switch between full screen and picture-in-picture zoom.
Tip. You can press Command + Control to toggle between different zoom styles if you enable this option.
- Maximum Zoom/Minimum Zoom settings. Drag the sliders to configure maximum and minimum magnification levels between 0x and 40x.
Way 4. How to enlarge and shrink on-screen items on Mac
Don’t need to zoom in on everything, only certain on-screen elements such as text, menu items, input fields, buttons, or parts of images? Sounds like you need to activate Hover Text like this:
- Put a checkmark in front of the Enable Hover Text option in Accessibility > Zoom.
- By default, the keyboard key to switch Hover Text on is Command.
Can I configure Hover Text on Mac?
Of course. Clicking on the Options… button allows you to alter the zoom size, font, color, and when and where the zoomed window appears. You can also change the default key to open and close Hover Text. Additionally, you can dedicate a keyboard key to lock the window or make it draggable.
Way 5. Zoom in and zoom out in a web browser on Mac
We’ve already covered Firefox and other Chromium-based browsers in method 7 of our “zoom in or zoom out on PC” guide. As mentioned in sub-method 1, this keyboard combination applies to all browsers, Safari included.
For most Safari pages you can simply zoom in or zoom out using the Command(⌘) and “+” to zoom in, Command(⌘) and “-” to zoom out, method.
On top of that, there are 2 more ways to enlarge and reduce zoom in Safari on Mac:
1. Set static zoom for all webpages in Safari on Mac
Follow these steps to make the content larger for all webpages in Safari:
- Click on Safari in the menu at the top, then select Preferences.
- When the new window opens, select the Websites tab at the top.
- In the Page Zoom sidebar on the left,
- Click on the first website on the list, then, while holding Shift, click on the last entry on the list.
- When all websites are selected, click on the Remove button in the bottom left corner.
- Set up a percentage value under When visiting other websites.
- Tip. 100% is the normal zoom level. Anything greater zooms webpages in and any value below zooms them out.
2. Set static zoom for a specific website in Safari on Mac
There are two ways to configure zoom settings for a particular website in Safari:
- Right-click on the website’s URL at the top of the page. Click on Settings for This Website.
- Click on Safari in the menu at the top. Select Settings for This Website below Preferences.
In both cases, you need to click on Zoom Level and select a percentage from the drop-down list.
Way 6. Increase and decrease zoom level on Mac via trackpad
For the following gestures to work, you must have a built-in Multi-Touch trackpad (on MacBook Air) or purchase a Magic Trackpad/Trackpad 2. Also, to check whether the options are enabled, do this:
- Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner.
- Select System Preferences, then go to the Scroll & Zoom tab.
- Make sure boxes in front of Smart zoom and Zoom in or out are checked.
With that done, here are 3 ways to perform a magnifying action via trackpad on Mac:
1. To make screen objects larger
Pinch the trackpad with 2 fingers closed. Spread them apart to gradually zoom in.
2. To make screen objects smaller
Pinch the trackpad with 2 fingers spread apart. Bring them together slowly to zoom out.
3. To switch between zoomed-in and zoomed-out mode quickly
Double-tap the screen with two fingers to either increase or decrease the zoom level, based on the current state. Repeating the action does the opposite. This gesture is most often used for documents, images, or webpages.
Way 7. Magnify in or magnify out on Mac with Touch Bar
Newer (2016 and later) MacBook Pro computers come with a Touch Bar instead of Function (F1-F12) keys. While some users still aren’t used to it, others regularly utilize its versatility. However, it’s undeniable that the OLED strip is hard to see sometimes. For that reason, you can:
1. Display a zoomed-in version of the Touch Bar on your screen
Press and hold anywhere on the Touch Bar for a few seconds.
2. Inflate and deflate zoom level on the Touch Bar
Press and hold the Command key on your keyboard. Then, pinch your Touch Bar with two fingers (open or closed, depending on what you want to achieve, same as a trackpad).
Way 8. Can I use magnification in specific apps on Mac?
Of course. And, in the spirit of convenience, Apple tends to implement the option at the same place for all of their apps. For example, to enlarge or reduce zoom levels in Photos, Apple Notes, Apple Maps, Photoshop, and a variety of other applications, do this:
- Click on View in the main menu at the top of the page.
- From the drop-down menu, select either Zoom In or Zoom Out.
- Tip. Many Apple apps, such as Preview, have built-in buttons marked with “+” (magnify in) and “-” (magnify out) in the top left corner.
Way 9. Enable speech when zoomed in on Mac
For those who have problems with sight even after things are significantly magnified, Mac offers an additional feature. To find it, open the Accessibility window, and then:
- Go to Spoken Content in the sidebar on the left.
- Put a checkmark in the empty box in front of Speak items under pointer.
- Click on Options… next to it.
- Select the Only when zoomed option in the drop-down menu instead of Always.
- Set Speech verbosity to Low.
- Set After delay to a value that fits your needs. To clarify, this is the time between hovering over a zoomed item on the screen, and when the voice starts speaking.