Questions about Accessibility Zoom

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by linbetwin, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. linbetwin macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2014
    These are questions for people who use the Zoom feature in Preferences>Accessibility.

    I'm a long-time Windows user. I'm visually-impaired and Windows Magnifier is all I need. I don't need Narrator or VoiceOver or any sophisticated screen magnifiers. I'm happy with Windows Magnifier, but I was thinking about buying a Macbook. However I'm not sure how well Zoom works.

    - Does Zoom follow the text insertion point in all applications? In Windows, the only ones that don't work are Chrome and OpenOffice. That's why I use Firefox and Microsoft Office. I type a lot so the magnifier must follow my typing.

    - Does using Zoom drain the battery faster? I presume it does, but is it a significant amount or barely noticable? Does it make the laptop hot?

    - What would be the best Macbook to run Zoom on, in terms of smoothness? Since I don't see the pixels I don't mind a lower resolution screen (Air - although I don't like that it's not IPS). Or would Zoom be smoother on a Macbook Pro?

    - Does Zoom lock up or crash? Any other quirks I should know about? I've tried experimenting with macOS in VMWare, but it has no hardware acceleration and Zoom is painfully slow, unusable.

    Thank you!
  2. freiheit macrumors 6502a

    Jul 20, 2004
    First welcome to the forum.

    I am also visually impaired and like you when in Windows I use the Magnifier all the time -- at work I have a 2nd screen where I keep Magnifier docked on the bottom half and Outlook on the top half. I also find it very annoying that Chrome does not really support Windows' Magnifier.

    In MacOS I use the Zoom feature a lot, but I run it fullscreen rather than windowed so I can zoom in only when needed. It does not have a "docked" option, it's either fullscreen zoom, with panning, or a little zoom window which replaces your mouse pointer so you must move it around to see things larger. But I find fullscreen zooming in MacOS to be easier than fullscreen zooming in Windows.

    On the Mac, there is a zoom option to follow the keyboard focus, but in my experience it does not work in all apps. Example, I'm typing into this text box, I switched to another app and moved the zoom over there, then Command-TAB'd (like ALT-TAB) back into Firefox. The zoom did move a bit over to the side but not actually down to focus on this text box. So while it may follow the keyboard focus (to the app which has focus), it is not following the text insertion point.

    I cannot answer about the battery as I run a desktop Mac plugged into AC power.

    Best Mac Book to run on is the best one you can afford. Kind of like what's the best camera to capture a once in a lifetime shot--the one you have with you. Any modern day Mac should run the Zoom feature just fine. I've been using it since at least 2005. Zoom has been rock solid for me. It's not a separate program you run, it's actually part of the MacOS windowing system (as I understand it). It's just a feature you enable or disable.
  3. linbetwin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2014
    Thanks for your answer.

    From my VM testing, Zoom on macOS can be docked. You choose Picture-in-Picture, click the Options button to the right, then click Adjust Size and Location on the bottom left. Then you can drag the zoom window to the bottom margin, adjust the size and click the OK button in the middle.
  4. freiheit macrumors 6502a

    Jul 20, 2004
    Well dang, look at you finding this neat stuff! It's been so long since I even tried using the non-fullscreen zoom in MacOS; I either forgot you could do this or those features crept in over the years and I just missed them. That's pretty neat.

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3 September 28, 2016