Make web pages easier to read on an iPhone using Safari’s Reader feature

Updated April 20th, 2020.

Every so often I show my Mom something on her iPhone and her reaction is incredibly enthusiastic. Other times, it’s more along the lines of “I wish you’d shown me this before.” Either way, when Mom likes what I’ve shown her, I write it up for everyone. This is one of those times.

Safari’s Reader View feature on the iPhone has been around for a bit, but since Mom didn’t know about it I’m assuming that there are at least a few others who don’t know about it too. In a nutshell, it makes web pages easier to read by enlarging the font, changing the background color, and eliminating ads and other distractions.

Here’s a web page in its regular view, and next to it the “Reader View” version. Obviously, the Reader View version is easier to read.

Regular view on the left. Reader View on the right.

Now you know you want it– so now you need to know how to get it. Here’s how: just tap the AA button at the top left, in the address bar. (If you don’t see the AA button, scroll to the top of the page and then look again.)

Web page view in iOS Safari browser, Reader view
Tap the AA button at top left!

When you tap the AA button you get a little menu. Tap the menu where it says “Show Reader View.”

Default view in Safari on an iPhone, with AA menu showing "Show Reader View."
After tapping the AA

Note: Reader View only works when Safari can figure out what the main story on the page is. So it doesn’t work everywhere. But when it does, it’s awesome.

You’ll probably be very pleased after tapping “Show Reader View.” However, if you tap the AA button while already in Reader View, you get a different menu, with options for font, and size, and background color. Play around with the settings there and see if you can be even more pleased. See below.

Font and color options in Reader View

Try tapping the smaller A and the larger A at the top, try choosing a different font, try changing the background color. Make things just the way you like them. Tap “Website Settings” and choose “Use Reader Automatically” and you’ll be all set, at least for this one website. Very smooth. Of course you can turn off Reader View if you want to– same place that you turned it on. But I’m betting you’ll leave it on, at least for most websites.

Distraction-free, bigger fonts, a choice of background colors– who wouldn’t want that? Did I mention you should try it?

Copyright 2008-2024 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

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4 thoughts on “Make web pages easier to read on an iPhone using Safari’s Reader feature

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  1. This really is a great feature. Thank you. I hope future Safari can improve it for use in every site since there are a few sites which it doesn't support

  2. Reader works best on sites where it's clear what the "main" story is. It's not so good (and the Reader button won't even appear) if Safari can't figure out what is "main" and what is fluff.

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