Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 28 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals
Using the Zoom button to zoom in.

Photo by Josh Centers

1 comment

TipBITS: Using the iPhone Camera’s Zoom Button

In all iPhones, when you’re taking a photo with the Camera app, you can zoom by putting two fingers on the viewfinder and moving them apart—the traditional pinch-to-zoom. However, the zoom level can be hard to control precisely, which becomes an issue on the “big” iPhones—the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and the iPhone XS Max. That’s because those models sport dual cameras that support 2x optical zoom— at any level other than 1.0 or 2.0 you’re using digital zoom that trades zoom level for picture quality (though it might still use digital zoom anyway, depending on the conditions).

To address that, Apple enhanced the Camera app on those models with an additional way of zooming, a visible zoom button in the viewfinder, above the shutter button.

The Zoom button in Camera.We’ve recently learned that not everyone realizes what this zoom button can do. It has three functions:

  • 1x/2x zoom toggle: Tap the button to switch between 1x and 2x. If you’re on an oddball zoom level, like 7.4x, a quick tap takes you back to 1x.
  • Incremental zoom control: Place a finger on the button and drag to move the circular slider between 1x and 10x zoom, in increments of 0.1. The button doesn’t move when you switch orientations, so in landscape orientation, dragging it down increases the zoom and dragging it up reduces it. In portrait orientation, dragging it to the left increases zoom and dragging it to the right reduces it.
  • Zoom level indicator: When you use the traditional pinch-to-zoom approach, the zoom button shows the zoom level.

The zoom level in the zoom button.If you want to see the zoom button in action, here’s a quick video showing how to use it:

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For 28 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

Comments About TipBITS: Using the iPhone Camera’s Zoom Button

Notable Replies

  1. Effective little video although I wondered if it was broken during the static opening screen.

Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum

Participants