Small phone numbers in OS X Contacts app

If you’ve ever needed to retrieve a phone number from Contacts (once called Address Book) in Mac OS X, you’ve probably noticed the phone numbers are shown quite small. On larger screens that’s not too big a big deal, but on smaller screen Macs and those with high resolutions, it can be really quite small. Rather than leaning your face inches from the screen or squinting like crazy to read a phone number, Apple thought ahead and added a great little accessibility feature that greatly amplifies the size of the phone number, making it simple to dial without wondering if you’re seeing the right number.

If you recall the Contacts trick to send text messages, SMS, initiate FaceTime calls, and Skype chats, then you’ll be familiar with the largely hidden menu used to access this feature.

Show a Phone Number in Huge Text

  • Launch Contacts in OS X and find the contact you’re looking for

  • Click the text alongside the phone number to summon the pull-down menu, and choose “Show Larger Text”

Show phone number in larger type

To say the Larger Text option is rather dramatic would be an understatement, it’s not just slightly bigger, it’s huge. On laptop screens it will take up the entire width of a screen, the screenshot below is shrunk down but you can get an idea of size in relation to the Contacts app underneath it. Shown like this, it would be very challenging to not see or dial the proper number:

Large phone number shown in Contacts app of OS X

(Note: the phone number shown is not a real number)

The super-sized text will stay on screen until you click anywhere, then it will will disappear instantly.

This is an excellent app-level accessibility trick for anyone with visual impairments, if you forgot your glasses somewhere, or if you’re just tired of squinting to see the itty bitty phone number in Contacts. Now, if only iOS had the same type of option, we’d be all set!