Photo by Josh Centers
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. (As Glenn Fleishman notes at Macworld, the iPhone might use digital zoom regardless of zoom level, 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.
- 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.
If you want to see the zoom button in action, here’s a quick video showing how to use it.