Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

After a refreshingly short wait, Google’s new Magnifier app is now available on the Pixel 5 and later. This app, which makes it easier to read small print or faraway signage, was previously exclusive to the Pixel 8 smartphone. Some people will say, “I can just use my camera for that,” but I suggest that you download Magnifier from the Play Store and give it a shot. It has some special features that are definitely worth your time.

Upon opening the Magnifier app, you’re greeted with a camera viewfinder and a very straightforward interface. There are large buttons to control the zoom ratio, a flashlight button (with a flashlight intensity slider), and a set of simple brightness and contrast controls. There’s also a big shutter button, which is more of a freeze-frame button. When you freeze an image, Magnifier will present you with a bunch of handy Google Lens controls—you can highlight and copy text, ask Google to read a menu or sign for you, or get the answers to a math problem. Frozen images must be manually saved to your camera roll, assuming that you actually want to save them.

The Magnifier app automatically sharpens and adjusts images to improve text legibility. Also, it provides incremental zoom controls up to 30x zoom (rather than the linear zoom control you’ll find in the camera app). It’s all very intuitive, and if you’re having trouble reading or seeing something, Magnifier will usually be a better option than your camera.

To make the Magnifier even more useful, Google suggests that you set it as your Quick Tap app—instead of opening Magnifier manually, you can open it by tapping the back of your Pixel phone. We have a full guide on setting up Quick Tap, but the basic process is as follows: open Settings, tap “System,” go to “Gestures,” and select “Quick Tap.” Turn on the “Use Quick Tap Setting,” scroll down, and press the “Settings” button next to the “Open App” function. Then, select the Magnifier app. It should open when you double-tap the back of your phone.

Magnifier is available exclusively on the Pixel 5 and later. You can download Magnifier from the Google Play Store. A similar feature debuted on the iPhone some years ago.

Source: Google via Mishaal Rahman

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By John P.

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