Smartphones are handy little devices that have a ridiculously wide variety of purposes. Gone were the days where phones were only used to make calls and send texts. Now, a smartphone can be used for things like games, work, banking, and of course, taking photos and videos.
Speaking of phone cameras, did you know that with a simple application that you can download, it can instantly be upgraded into a microscope of sorts? These apps are amazing!
Of course, that’s not to say you should expect the specs that you’re bound to get from an actual microscope, but it’s still convenient for practicing microscopy on the go, especially when it comes to usual tasks and everyday things. Read also related articles – Best usb microscope, best pocket microscope and best dissecting microscope.
The 7 best microscope apps for android and iPhone users
I’ve scoured the internet and downloaded a bunch of microscopes and magnifying glass apps to test and see which ones are the best and deliver what they promise and more. After hours of testing, here are the ones I like.
I’ve divided this list into what works for both android and iPhone devices, and apps that are exclusively for either iPhone or android. The first three apps work on both android and iPhone, then the next two are for android phones, and the last couple is for iPhones.
1. Magnifier and Microscopes
Hailed as the best android microscope app for 2020 is the Magnifier and Microscopes, which also works on iPhones and iPads. It’s a really versatile application that can totally transform your phone camera into a magnifier, microscope, macro camera, flashlight, and more.
It offers various magnification levels that are easy to control through the zoom bar, has the ability to freeze and embed images, doubles as a photo viewer, and has various photo color filters that help you see the object in front much better.
It’s free and easy to use, and is great for reading, observing, examining, and image capturing, which all work with just a few clicks. As with any free app, however, it comes with its fair share of in-app ads, which can be mildly annoying, but certainly not a deal-breaker.
2. Magnifying Glass + Flashlight
A simple yet effective app that transforms your cell phone camera into a magnifying glass or a simple microscope is the Magnifying Glass + Flashlight, which, as you can guess from the name, works by illuminating and magnifying whatever is in front of the camera.
It makes use of your phone’s built-in flashlight, where the brightness and magnification controls are right on the screen and can be adjusted with a simple swipe up, down, left, or right. The light automatically turns on when the app is launched, but it can be dimmed or switched off.
This app can zoom in up to 5x, and even has the option to freeze the image on the screen, making it easier to look at. This is especially great for reading tiny prints, such as those in medicine bottles and product packaging.
3. NowYouSee Helping Color Blind
A particularly interesting app that I’ve come to love, and I’m sure many of you will too, is the NowYouSee Helping Color Blind, which is a microscope slash magnifying glass app designed specifically for color-blind individuals.
It’s available for both Android and iPhone, so everyone can enjoy the amazing features of this app, which includes the standard zoom and lighting controls, and special color filters that help the user differentiate between various colors.
It also has a built-in color detector, and you can even use photos from your gallery. There is also a color blind test that you can take beforehand, although it opens on a different webpage rather than within the app, it’s just a minor inconvenience.
4. Cozy Magnifier and Microscope
A two in one smartphone app for android the Cozy Magnifier and Microscope, which, as the name implies, functions both as a simple magnifier and a slightly more sophisticated phone microscope, so it’s great for reading and looking at various objects.
As with any magnifying glass app, this one has the necessary lighting and zoom features, but goes the extra length and provides additional controls for brightness and contrast, so you can easily manipulate the final image without using a separate application.
It also has a more powerful zoom that many other similar apps and offers a lot of free photo filters. The only drawback is that it’s a little harder to use on a tablet, since it’s specifically designed for standard smartphones.
5. Magnifying Glass
A free and easy to use yet versatile app for android is Magnifying Glass, which is complete with all the essential functions and features of a magnifying app, and some more. And despite all these, it’s not confusing at all to navigate.
It has the capacity to activate your phone’s flashlight in case you need more lighting, like when you’re reading in the dark. This is also easy to control, as well as the zoom that reaches up to 10x, just with a simple pinch or slide motion.
What’s unique about this app is that it has built-in color filters that enable you to read the text and view objects easier and in better detail. The only downsides are the small app buttons and the ever-annoying in-app ads.
6. Microscope by LogSat Software LLC
One of the best microscope apps you can download on your iPhone is the Microscope by LogSat Software LLC, which is a simple yet functional and easy to use microscope application that is great for a variety of purposes.
It operated by mimicking the principles of electron microscopy, which by default, means that it also features a high magnification power. In fact, you can use this microscope to zoom in on your skin in order to see your skin cells.
Of course, it doesn’t actually zoom in to that extent. It just has a smart detector that can identify what you are trying to image, and then loads up magnified images of that specimen from its database. Nonetheless, still pretty impressive.
7. BigMagnify Free
An excellent magnifying app exclusively for iPhones is BigMagnify Free, which is even compatible with older iPhone models operating on iOS 7. It’s particularly great for reading overly designed text and graphics since it has plenty of built-in filters.
These filters, such as the sharpen filter, are explicitly designed to enable text to stand out clearly against the background by making the text size bolder, adding a white outline and increasing the general image contrast.
There are a few issues, however. For one thing, the buttons and controls are semi-transparent and on the small side, making them hard to read and operate. The overall design of the app is also not as user friendly as other similar apps.
A couple of reminders when choosing a microscope app:
These microscope and magnifier apps are not actual microscopes and magnifiers. They simply optimize your phone camera’s zoom functions to make image capturing more efficient and stable, especially when viewing smaller objects and texts.
Therefore, what’s important to remember is that these apps are only as good as your phone camera’s quality and specifications. If your camera can’t capture images in low lighting and produces grainy, out of focus photos, don’t expect any app to do wonders suddenly.
That said, a few must-have features of microscope apps include an acceptably high magnification range, adjustable brightness of the phone’s built-in flashlight, and easy to use controls, adjustments, and navigations.
Nice to have features, on the other hand, include filters for color and contrast of the image, the ability to use photos saved on your phone’s gallery, and pretty much anything else that’s not an absolute essential.
There are lots of microscope apps and magnifying glass apps out there, and since most of these are free anyway, you can simply install as many as you want and try them out until you find one that suits you best.
But why bother? After all, that is way too time-consuming. That’s why I want to help by providing this review of the best microscope apps for 2020.
Personally, my favorite is the Magnifier and Microscopes, since it’s perhaps the most versatile yet easy to operate app that I’ve come across. Although the NowYouSee has a special place in my heart, since it’s so rare and filled with good intentions.