How to unzoom (or zoom in to) your Mac

First published on October 10, 2007

Stuck with a zoomed in Mac display and wondering how in the world it got like that?

Zoomed in display

First, check the Display menu in System Preferences to make sure a lower resolution hasn’t been selected:

Display menu in System Preferences

If it’s not a resolution problem…

To zoom out: hold the CTRL button on your keyboard and scroll down on your mouse’s scroll wheel.

To zoom in: hold the CTRL button on your keyboard and scroll up on your mouse’s scroll wheel.

Thanks to Mark for the keyboard command: alt | command (apple) +/-


76 Responses to “How to unzoom (or zoom in to) your Mac”

  1. christophe says:

    For those of us without a scroll wheel, I believe CTRL + and CTRL – do the trick as well.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Thanks! My cat ran across the keyboard and i couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Also, I think CTRL + and CTRL – don’t work on my intel macbook. I tried it first when the problem started.

  3. Jake says:

    Thank you very much i couldn’t figure out how to get it back i don’t know how it happened but thank you and the double Ctrl and scroll does work.

  4. Sydney says:

    Thanks! I was on my friend’s computer and I accidentally zoomed in and I thought she was gonna kill me!

  5. Mark says:

    alt | command (apple) +/-

    is keyboard shortcut

  6. Kana says:

    my cat slept on my laptop and my screen was acting weird…
    but Mark, you are brilliant!!! thank you!!!! ur my lifesaver!!

  7. Britney says:

    Thanks sooooooooooooooooooooooooo much, Mark!!!!!!!!! You saved me hours of pointless frustration and random key combinations!!!!!!!!!!! you’re a lifesaver!!!!!!!

  8. ale says:

    Thanks! That was some useful crap!

  9. Frederick says:

    Thank you so much! That was seriously annoying me!

  10. Jeremy says:


  11. Jacki says:

    What a load of crap!

    Thanks so much. You just saved me a trip to the Genius Bar.

  12. Chris says:

    FYI, if you all were really stuck, you could have powered down your mac by holding in the power button for five seconds, then powered up like normal…

  13. Ivanra says:


  14. Derek says:

    Thanks it really helped. I looked everywhere and yours was the least confusing. It did the trick thanks.

  15. Maggie says:

    I was going CRAZY!!!!
    THANK YOU thank you THANK YOU!

  16. JK says:

    THANKS! Not sure what happened!

  17. Fran says:

    Tried everything – powering down the mac, holding the button for five seconds and then powering on again worked! Many thanks, Chris.

  18. Sue P says:

    Thanks .Turning the computer off did not work….But finding this website did.
    Thanks to grandkids…who have done this once before but I couldn’t remember how it was solved last time.

  19. mmm says:


  20. iqar says:

    thank you so much! now if only i googled "how to unzoom my mac book display" YESTERDAY, instead of just today, i would have saved my self a whole lotta frustration!! lifesaver!!

  21. Nona says:

    Omg! Thank you so much! I have a MacBook and my 1 year old son jacked it all up! My screen was GIANT! All day, no one could help me. So thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

  22. Irenee says:

    Thank-you! Control scroll worked, you rock!

  23. Brandy says:

    Thank you, Mark!!!!

  24. Julia says:

    Oh thank god! I somehow accidentally zoomed in and I could not figure out how to fix it or what I had done. So glad you posted this.

  25. Sam says:

    hi, my scroll wheel is broken, I can’t scroll down. the keyboard shortcut here works within a window, but not for zooming the monitor. Is there another way of zooming the monitor back out? THANKS.

  26. Angel says:

    Got the same problem as you Sam
    At my school we work on macs and every mouse is broken non of them can scroll down
    So some people at my school accidentally zoom in but can’t zoom out :S
    I searched the internet for a solution but found nothing
    Of course you can shut down you mac but that takes a lot of time
    It would be easier if there just was a simple solution..

  27. Gunnar says:

    The same thing happened to me, try holding the alt/option button and the command button at the same time and then press – or + , thats what worked for me.

  28. Sandra Boesch says:

    Thank you so much!! Saved me tons of time trying to figure this out!!!!

  29. Student at a school says:

    Wow thanks Mark, I tried the top solution but it didn’t work and then I saw yours and tried it. My teacher was saved a lot of frustration trying to fix this.. :)

  30. sweetface says:

    Thank you so much! This was so frustrating, and I now am so relieved, that I have to leave a comment…My mouse has not scrolled down for sometime now, and this didn’t seem like a huge problem (do you see where this is going?) Then last night something happened while I was just sitting, innocently, trying to get some work done, and POW! my screen grew enormous right before my eyes. I realized that my stapler fell on my keyboard as I was scrolling, but I had no idea what keys it had hit.

    I called my mister "know-it-all-about-macs" friend, and instead of saying "I don’t know" he told me to power down my mac by holding the button in back. Well, this is his solution 50% of the time when I call, and I knew that there had to be a less drastic way (that can’t be good to do all the time…just saying).
    Then I decided to do a search on my iphone, which I should have done in the first place (know it all people are not good with admitting that they have no answer). I am SOOO glad that you had the keyboard commands, because without them, I would still be lost, or would have had to force shut down, but I didn’t, and now I have learned a new command! Thanks again!

  31. Crystal says:

    this JUST happened to me.. you gotta hit OPTION.COMMAND then – or + yay XD

  32. tash says:


  33. Rasa says:

    Thanks so much!!!!! I almost regretted getting the mac

  34. Rana says:

    You’re the best! Thanks!!! Rana

  35. Rick says:

    Thanks for the advice it works really well

  36. Anthony Gent says:

    Thank you.

    AppleCare and a Mac repair specialist said that I needed to reinstall the operating system. You can imagine my joy when I went to collect the computer and in a couple of clicks made the screen normal.

    Needless to say they were very embarrassed and refunded me the inspection cost.

  37. april says:

    Thank you sooo much I LOVE YOUR CRAP! This was so helpful!

  38. Janette says:

    OMG, thank you so much. The baby grabbed my keyboard (as I was scrolling with my mouse apparently) and suddenly I was stuck with that huge screen. I could not for the life of me figure out what happened. You saved me from making an annoying call to my hubby in the middle of his work day ;)

  39. macuser says:

    Thank you very much! I accident zoomed in… not knowing what button I pressed.. I quickly googled and your result was #1 now im back to normal screen AND I learned something new!

    Thanks very much!!!

  40. lara parent says:

    Great Crap, Peter!! Thanks so much! :)L

  41. Dave Nelsen says:

    Through an inadvertent keystroke (or some system glitch) I accidentally zoomed my entire screen, not just in a single application like Safari. None of the above solutions worked for me. Instead, I clicked the "Apple" logo in the far upper left and selected "System Preferences". Then I selected "Universal Acccess" and turned "Zoom" from off to on to off again. That cleared the problem.

  42. Loren says:

    thanks Dave! just had this happen and your post helped me when Mark’s didn’t.

  43. Blane says:

    Good crap Mark

  44. CHoskins says:

    Thank you!!!!!!
    Control -scroll just saved my night!!

  45. riley says:

    you are a life saver! I zoomed in to read something on my computer but my scroll thing is broken so i could only zoom in and not back out. the control + alt + – worked

  46. riley says:

    Also, don’t you think i tried powering down mark? When i turned it back on it was still zoomed.

  47. riley says:

    To Sam and Angel, try command/alt/+ or -

  48. Pops says:

    Thank you David Nelsen: Following your directions I was able to unzoom.
    After fixing my screen I found that (option|command -) zooms back out and (option|command =) zooms in.

  49. Glenda says:


  50. Olivia says:

    Haha, I read this while accidentally zoomed in, so THANK YOU

  51. jlb says:

    Perfect! Thanks!

  52. Marla says:

    OMG, 3.5 year old post and you are STILL rescuing people like me stuck in zoom! I must have done the two-finger swipe scroll on my trackpad while the control key was accidentally held down. I was completely mystified about WHAT I had done.

    Thank you so much.

  53. Annie says:

    Thank you too…in frustration I swept my hand across my keyboard and as karma would see it got stuck in GIANT mode…thank you!

  54. erica says:

    thank you so much for this.. I was freaking out with this crazy zoom

  55. Marissa says:

    For those who don’t have a mouse, and CTRL + or CTRL – did not work like for me, press CTRL and drag two fingers up or down the track pad. It workeddd! :D

  56. Jeesun says:

    I didn’t understand the statement ‘scroll down.’ I realized you meant using two fingers on mouse pad. So Ctrl + (two fingers on mouse pad) and scroll down. Thank you so much for helping me.

  57. Richard P. says:

    Ahhhh!….. That was, indeed, good CRAP!!!

  58. Jessica says:

    Thank you ! Simple but would have taken me hrs. (ctrl/ scroll)

  59. rebecca says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  60. natallia says:

    thank you so much! I was about to cry I could not figure out how to fix it! :)

  61. nameismatt says:


  62. Fixed it mommy! says:

    thank you so much it is soooooo annoying!

  63. Lindsey says:

    Thank you so much for posting these answers! They saved me from buying a new mouse (scroll down is busted)
    (command alt – ) got me back in business!

  64. Danielle says:

    I should have googled this two days ago…. So much easier then going to the Apple site and trying to find the answer there!! Thank you!

  65. kim says:

    It was the display problem. somehow it got set on a bigger one. lol

  66. loser says:

    thanks. i almost pissed myself i was so frightened.

  67. Celeste says:

    Oh my goodness, this website saved my life! i borrowed my brothers macbook pro and all of a sudden the computer was zoom in and i couldnt figure out how to zoom back out. i tried zooming out using two fingers on the mouse bad but that wasnt helping the probem with the whole computer screen. so i had to use the control button to zoom out. thank you everybody sooo much!

  68. Jessica says:

    Omg thank you!!!

  69. Sierra says:

    Oh my gosh! thank you soooo much! I keep zooming in by mistaken and can’t fix it!

  70. Jason says:

    THANK YOU!!!!! I was 3d compositing and that mother flipping thing zoomed in! THANKS!!

  71. Tim says:

    Another note..sometimes if you’re using a trackpad and you hold the command button while pushing two fingers up or down you’ll zoom the entire screen, hard to do by error but it does happen. This happens to the entire desktop not just the window. The solution here is for the window you are in, if your entire desktop is zoomed in and you’re frustrated, hold the command button, then take two fingers on your trackpad and pull them towards you to correct.

  72. cycling girl says:

    Thanks so much. I too have a too-clever cat who stumped me with a suddenly magnified MacBook screen. Thank you Peter. And thank you Google (the Apple groupie in me knows I shouldn’t say that tho…)

  73. Sean says:


  74. Gaby says:

    I had a 20 page paper to write and could no concentrate because the image was so close! You just saved my life! Thanks!

  75. Bill says:

    I have a MacBook Pro (non-retina display)
    Command (apple) +- reduced the size four or five levels, but it is still zoomed in, just not GIANT
    CTRL +- did not work
    CTRL scroll did not work
    Do not have Universal Access in System Preferences
    I Have OS X 10.8.2
    Any ideas how to get the zoom to un-zoom?

  76. Calra says:

    I unzoomed it but now my iMac’s desktop is too small and I can’t see anything how can I zoom in ?

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