How to watch video in full screen on iPhones without issue?

Modified Nov. 3, 2023, 9:23 p.m.


In this post, I’m telling you what you need to know about the ability to watch video in full screen on iPhones, and how to fix any issue you could have.

If you can’t watch your videos on your iPhone, you should first try to restart your phone and see if it helps. Note that you can’t always watch the videos in full screen, it depends on the application you are using.

First, I’ll explain properly what this full-screen feature available on iPhones is, why it has been introduced by Apple, and how to use it correctly, so you can enjoy better your videos by watching them while your iPhone screen is fulfilled.

The full screen feature on iPhones

The full-screen feature on the iPhone has been an iOS feature for many years, I can’t even remember the first time the feature appeared. I guess it appeared when the ratio of iPhone screens started to be very different than the standard video ratio.

Indeed, most videos nowadays are made using the 16:9 ratio. If for pictures, the 4:3 is still widely used and probably the best ratio[link], there are no more videos made using the old 4:3 ratio. On the other hand, iPhone screens got longer, the display has been stretched and is now a 19.5:9 screen.

Videos are not fulfilling the iPhone screen anymore, there is a gap on each side of the video. Hopefully, you can still use these gaps by putting the video you are watching in full screen. You will lose a part of the video, but the images will be bigger.

To put the video in full screen on an iPhone, you need to use two fingers to stretch the video, by pinching, the same way as if you wanted to zoom in.

How to fix a full screen not working on iPhone?

If fullscreen is working on most video applications available on iPhone, it’s not working on all of them. On YouTube, you should be able to put the video on full screen by pinching with two fingers without any issue.

But for example, you can’t do this on the HBO Max application. It really depends on the application itself more than on iOS. If you can’t put the video you are watching in full screen, it might only be because the application does not allow you to do so.

However, if you were allowed to watch your video in full screen, and it’s not working anymore, you can try a few things.

To fix a full screen not working issue on your iPhone, try each of these:

  • Close the application. The easiest thing to try, close the application properly and open it again to see if it helps. To close the application, swipe from the bottom to the top to show the list of opened applications on your iPhone, and swipe up the application you want to close. Open again the app and try to put the video you were watching in full screen.
  • Update the application. It might be a bug inside the application itself introduced after an update. The application provider might have released a new update to fix the issue. Check if it’s the case, and install the new update if there is any.
  • Reinstall the application. If you can’t watch your video in full screen yet, try to delete and reinstall the application. The data in the cache will be refreshed which might help you to fix the issue.
  • Restart your iPhone. The last thing to try is to restart your iPhone. If there is any issue between iOS and the application you are using, that does not allow you to watch videos in full screen, restarting your iPhone will fix that.

If after all these attempts, you still can’t watch your videos in fullscreen, then I’m sorry to say so but you won’t be able to. The application probably released an update that is blocking the full-screen feature.

If it’s a bug, you can hope for a new update soon. Check if there is any from time to time. But it can be also a choice from the application provider, in this case, you are stuck to watch your videos in the normal 16:9 ratio.

You can also try to use the browser version of the video provider, to see if you can pinch to put the video in full screen. Be sure to use the default Safari experimental WebKit features in this case.



Maxime Levesque is a technical engineer with more than 5 years of professional experience. He is an expert in computer and phones, mostly on Apple products. Maxime is also the founder of TechBrowser.

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