Android: Increase Text Size In Apps

It is quite clear that Android can be a problem for the visually impaired. People have been complaining that he icons and text on some screens are just way too small for some people in Android Forums for quite some time.

I haven’t figured out a way to magnify the home screen or system menus without rooting the device and using a font changer. Those of us who don’t want to root seem to be screwed in this regard. However, there are many ways to make the OS easier on the eyes within some of the apps you use without rooting. In this post I’m going to go over the best ways to make common apps more user-friendly for somebody who can’t see all that well. You may want to provide your phone and this tutorial to somebody with better vision so they can implement these changes for you.

Text Messaging

Dump the Messaging app and download and install Handcent. This app has many features where you can customize the font style and sizes. The font settings are located under Menu > Settings > Custom style > Conversation list settings where you can modify the Subject and contact fonts.  Go to Menu > Settings > Custom style > Bubble setting to modify the Incoming font.

Handcent - modify fonts

Web Browser

The default Android web browser has the ability to increase the font size under Menu > More > Settings > Text size.

Android browser font size

Gmail

The Gmail app has the ability to change font size under Menu > More > Settings > Message text size.

Gmail text size setting

Email

The default email app for Android doesn’t have much in the way of features. I recommend you use K-9 Mail if you’re using a POP or IMAP account. Modify the text font size under Menu > More > Settings > Global settings > Font size.

K9 mail font size setting

Twitter

The default Twitter app for Android doesn’t have the ability to modify the text size. I use Twidroyd instead. From the Home screen of the Twidroyd app, tap the 3 dots at the bottom-right > Settings > Display options > Choose Fontsize.

Twidroyd font size setting

This is what I have for now. I had hoped to add a music app with the ability to change the text size, but I have yet to find anything. I will update this post as I come across more apps that can help. If you have recommendations, please provide them in the Comments section.

Comments

  1. JF says

    I’m a bit confused by your comments regarding the ability to increase the font size in several of the apps you identify. While both Gmail and the default web browser (I have an Incredible running 2.2) do have the options to increase the font size to ‘huge’, if I choose this option, it has NO effect at all on the font size. (It’s still very teeny/weeny and unreadable unless you have perfect vision, which I don’t). I LOVE all of the features that the android offers, but this oversight regarding font size is beyond shocking. I can’t believe that such a basic feature has been ignored with no solution (that I can identify) in sight (no pun intended!)

  2. Kirk says

    I agree with JF. The idea you have to have try and find many, many apps to install and replace built-in apps just to increase font size is ridiculous. Can’t wait for iphone 5 to come out. No more android for me till they get up to date with the rest of the competition. Fumbling for reading glasses 100 times a day is getting very frustrating. Other phones have had this built in for almost 10 years. Can’t believe android is so far behind in this area, and must think everyone has ant eyes.

  3. HW says

    It is summer 2012. I have a Samsung Galaxy S3, and I cannot shrink the huge font size in the build in email app. The global font size settings have no effect and I cannot find a setting within the email app. How bad is that?

  4. joel says

    I have the cheapest sansung android smart phones. The problem is that I cannot read any document that is written in pdf format because the letter are very small. I tried downloading some apps to increase font side from the apps market but was told my phone cannot use that version. Is there any hope for me?

  5. Jochem says

    Handcent is not the solution I was looking for, as though it has many options to increase font size,
    as soon as you open the SMS, where I’d need the large font, it is small and not increaseable again :(

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