iPhone 6: Zoomed Mode or Standard?

One of the 1st decisions you will have to make about your new iPhone 6 is whether you want it to run in "Zoomed" mode or "Standard" mode. As I'm sure you have heard by now, the iPhone 6 is larger than the iPhone 5 and 5s and the iPhone 6 Plus is even bigger than the iPhone 6:

  • iPhone 5: 4"
  • iPhone 5s: 4"
  • iPhone 6: 4.7"
  • iPhone 6 Plus: 5.5"

(measured across the diagonal of the screen)

So you have a choice between these 2 display modes. What are they exactly? The "Standard" display mode displays text and application icons at the exact same size as they were displayed on the smaller 4 inch screen of the iPhone 5 and 5s (and even the older 3.5" screens of the the other iPhone 4s and older models). So if you choose the "Standard" mode for the display on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus you now have extra space. This extra space means an extra row of icons on the iPhone 6 and an extra 2 rows of icons on the iPhone 6 Plus. That is standard display mode, same relative size of everything on the screen as you had on previous iPhones. They do look smaller though because the phone is bigger (its a relative thing).

The other display mode option is the "Zoomed" mode. In this mode iOS increases the size of the text and the application icons making icons a little easier to touch with your fingers on the screen and text a little bit easier to read (for those of us with aging eyes this is kinda handy). So, if you choose the "Zoomed" mode on the iPhone 6 you end up with the same number or application icons on the home screen as you had on the iPhone 5 and 5s, but the icons are larger and so is the text. The larger display and graphical elements throughout the operating system are all larger when you choose the "Zoomed" display mode.

So which one should you choose? This is totally a personal preference call. When I bought my iPhone 6 at the AT&T store the clerk who setup my phone told me he was setting it up with the display mode as "Zoomed", but he told me how to change it back to standard if I wanted. I have left it in the "Zoomed" mode ever since. I did try out the "Standard" mode a few times, but for me I would rather be able to quickly tap on an application icon on the go and know I'll hit it the 1st time rather than be able to squeeze a few more applications on my home screen. I also appreciate the User Interface (UI) elements being larger as well as the larger text. My close-up eyesight is not as good as it used to be so I can use all the help I can get.

Below is a comparison of the "Zoomed" mode view of my iPhone 6 home screen (on the left) and the "Standard" mode (on the right).

It's not a huge difference, but I just like the look of the "Zoomed" mode so I'm sticking with it. You will also notice in my screen shots below that I have filled the top row of my home screen with folders. I did this because I wanted my most used and generally quickly accessed applications at the lower right of my home screen. iOS only lets you have applications at the bottom of the screen if you fill the entire screen with applications. So I decided to replace my upper row of icons with folders and move my most often used apps in the lower right-hand corner (apps like the camera app, messages, OmniFocus and FitBit). Why did I choose folders for the top row instead of just keeping the least used apps at the top? I can't access the top row of the iPhone 6 with my thumb while holding the phone one-handed. I have relatively normal-sized hands but pretty short fingers. These are folders that are important, but when I use the apps in these folders I am generally doing so when I have more than a few seconds to use my phone so I am able to do so with both hands. 16 applications on the home screen is plenty for me, in fact the 4 apps I mentioned above (as well as the 4 in my dock) are the ones I use 90% of the time anyway.

It is interesting to note that Stephen Hackett over at 512 pixels took the opposite approach from mine. He left the bottom row of his home screen empty because he likes a little "breathing room." Yet more proof that it is simply a matter of personal preference. You can see Stephen Hackett's home screen over at Mac Sparky.com.

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