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Enable full screen contact photo or caller ID image for iPhone [iOS]

The iPhone has a software setting to add profile photos for contacts. It enables a full-screen caller ID with a photo background on the iPhone screen for phone calls. However, at times the image of the contacts in iPhone appears as a small circle at the top-right corner of the screen. The contact images appear as thumbnails even when you have the original picture in Photos app or the iCloud. This post explores the methods to fix this issue and keep the contact photo in full-screen size for incoming and outgoing calls.

Enable full-screen photo caller ID for iPhone contacts

As I said earlier, occasionally iPhone displays a thumbnail image in caller screen, instead of the full-size photo we set in the Contacts app. The exact cause of this issue is unclear. If I share my experience, I had this problem with caller ID photos, after I did a restore for my iPhone from an old iCloud backup. It seems different versions of iOS and iPhone models handle it differently. Nevertheless, let me explain all I know to make your iPhone contact photos appear full screen on iOS 14.

  1. First of all, open a required image from the iOS photos app and click on the Edit option.
  2. Choose to crop the image, and from the top-right section, click on the aspect ratio icon.
  3. Scroll through the ratio options, and choose 2:3, keeping the image in portrait mode.
  4. If you wish, make changes to the photo maintaining the settings, and press Done as you finish.
  5. Now, use the Contacts app in iPhone to set this image as the caller ID background.

full screen contact photo iPhone

The above method works in iOS 13, 14, 12 and all other recent releases of iPhone software. However, if you have an older iPhone, try the following alternatives to activate full-screen caller images on iPhone.

How to add a contact photo on iPhone (iOS)

Now if you don’t know how to set profile photos for each contact in iPhone, check the two official methods below.

    1. Open Contacts app> Tap on a contact> Click on the Edit link> Press on “Add photo” (comes inside a circle)> Use the iPhone Camera to take a photo or select one from the album> Done.
    2. Open the Photos app> Long press on a picture to choose it> Click on the share button> Scroll through the second tab (at the bottom) and find the “Assign to Contact” icon> Tap on it and Done.

add contact photo iPhoneWe prefer the second method for adding a contact photo on the iPhone. It works well for getting the full-size pictures in our tests. You may also try third-party apps like Sync.me (check below) to automatically sync contact pictures from social media apps.

Alternatives you can try to keep the iPhone contact pictures in full-screen size

I use the above trick to get full-screen incoming caller ID photo for my contacts on iPhone 8 Plus. However, there isn’t a permanent solution to this problem. All you can do is following a trial- and error approach. Check out a few more options based on my experience and suggestions from our readers.

  1. Take a screenshot of the photo in portrait mode and add it as the contact image, after cropping the Black corners.
  2. Turn-off data for iCloud sync, Phone, and Contacts: As you know, iPhone uploads contact images to iCloud. Later, if you don’t have that image in the gallery, they sync the thumbnail version of the photo from iCloud. Go to Settings> Mobile Data to disable data access.
  3. Use the photo taken with your iPhone camera for contacts. Pictures from the selfie camera are perfect for caller ID.
  4. Crop the caller ID image to have dimensions (or it’s multiples) of your iPhone display size.
  5. Use third-party apps like Sync.me for contact management and caller photo identification.

Our old (maybe outdated) video tutorial on adding full-screen contact photos on the iPhone is given below.

YouTube player

Fix iPhone contact photos appearing in a small circle for incoming calls [app]

In case you still not able to get full-screen caller ID on your device, another alternative is to use a third-party software from the App Store. One such software we use and recommend for our users is Sync.me. The app is the most reliable one for syncing photos, birthdays and other details of your contacts from social networks like Facebook.

The advantage of the Sync.Me app is that you don’t need to edit all contacts to include pictures manually. Sync.me connects your social profile on Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter to download and import photos to the contact numbers. And you also get the option to choose whether your contact photos fit in full screen, phone screen or as a thumbnail.

This app requires you provide full consent to upload your contact list to Sync.Me servers for their Facebook sync to work. They use it to provide live caller identification service, just like TrueCaller app.

Having to upload your contact’s numbers is a privacy concern for many, and is a disadvantage. However, Sync.me also provides a choice in the app to delete your account from their platform and reset everything.

 iPhone photo caller ID
PS: The UI and the configuration of the latest version of Sync.me are slightly different from the screenshot. Unfortunately, the free version of the app shows a little too many ads, but the good thing is that you can get a pro version by referring one of your friends or family members to the app. They offer a 30-day pro per person who joins with the unique referral code you have in the app settings. The paid version offers an ad-free experience, merging contacts, auto-syncing of social media profile photos, call recording and a few more useful features.

Steps to activate full screen contact photos in iPhone with Sync.Me.

  1. Download and Install the Sync.Me app, here.
  2. Accept the permission to access contact information.
  3. Press on the Get Started to button to begin.
  4. Verify your mobile number with Sync.Me through OTP.
  5. Touch the Sync button, which opens the option to sync from social networking apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  6. Click on the + icon and follow the instructions on Sync.Me UI to link your social profile to the app.
  7. Now, open the Sync Settings from the menu. Here, choose Full Screen as the size choice under Sync Photos option. Also, choose what all information you want to sync.
  8. The app prompts a message to start syncing as you complete the Sync Settings option. Agree to “Sync Now.” and start with the import process.
  9. In the next step, you may filter out conflicts and manually choose which all contacts you would like to include in the Sync. The selected contacts get full-screen photo caller IDs.
  10. See the last part of the video to see the app working on iPhone.

Now you may think, what would I do if I want a custom photo for my contact, not something taken Facebook or Google. Well, that is the magic of this app. It looks like some iOS setting changes when you install this app and choose to sync full-screen photos from social networks. Even if you delete the app later, the iPhone continues to display contact pictures in full size. Edit the contact profile with any photo of your choice; it shows up in full screen.

How to make a contact image show smaller on iPhone caller ID


Well, some people want it the opposite way, to make the contact photo appear in that tiny circle which doesn’t take the phone’s display area. Let me explain the steps to bypass full-screen caller ID for thumbnail pictures on iPhone.

iPhone contact picture small circle

  • Remove and re-insert the same contact image, that is just enough to enable full-size photos for contacts in iOS 13. If it doesn’t work, check the steps below.
  • Open iCloud.com on your computer by providing your Apple ID and password.
  • Click to open the Contacts menu, and select one by scrolling through the listings.
  • Press the edit link once you are in a contact’s page.
  • Click on the red dot with – sign on it, and remove the existing photo.
  • Now, drag the new picture to the editor. Move the slider to adjust the dimensions.
  • Hit Done when you are ready.
  • From now on the photo of your contact will appear in a small circle at the top section of the screen when you get a live call.

Probable reason for iPhone losing contact photo sizes after iCloud restore or Sync.

According to Apple website, the maximum size of the Vcard image for an iCloud contact is 224 KB. It looks like Apple is using compression techniques for maintaining the size of the contact images uploading to iCloud.com. And probably that is the cause for low quality and small-size contact photos when you prefer iCloud restore for your device. Since this iCloud setting is ON, all the additional pictures you add also come as thumbnails no matter what you do. Share your thoughts in the comments.

24 Comments
  1. Wonderful. Thanks!

  2. Hi, how I can set incoming call as a baner on locked screen? I do not want fullsize photo of person who is calling me when I have my phone somewhere on table. I want just baner with small photo in ring
    iphone SE2
    Please how I can set it up
    Thanks

  3. I found a solution for iOS 13

    Crop the photo to 2:3 size and add the to contact.
    the photo size can be reverted to the original after the contact syncronization.

  4. Epic fail!!! This did not help at all.

  5. Please try sync.me it works!! You can edit the contact but save it in full screen by taking a screenshot however you want it to look on screen.

    My mom was having trouble with the full screen finally solved !!

  6. I found the fix after tying many methods – just turn off mobile data for contacts and phone app. Delete and add photo again for the contacts.

  7. I almost tried everything read every article in this issue it just doesn’t work Surprisingly it works for few seconds in xs after editing or assigning a photo. After a while that contact page acts as if it refreshed itself and then it again gives me a thumbnail.
    It’s very disappointing!

  8. Hello! I tried all the methods and nothing worked. I was seriously hoping that either or the method would be working. Disappointed to say that. I am currently having iOS 13. Please help me with Full screen photo caller ID.

  9. Hello All
    I have used many of the tricks and solutions described above but none of them worked for me in long time.
    The trick I used and worked in all cases is really simple. Crop the Photo that you would like to keep it is as Contact Photo.
    1. Select the Photo you would like to save it as contact Photo.
    2. Select the option “Duplicate” from context menu.
    3. Edit the duplicated Photo and crop it any of these resolutions (975×1536 or 956×1521 or 959×1536 or 994×1529).
    3.1. All the resolutions mentioned above are random. Basically you need to crop the image in a manner that the cropped Photo covers all the iPhone’s screen. Even the native Portrait Photos of iPhone are to be cropped to look like the occupy all the screen.
    3.2. Photos taken in landscape mode are easy to crop. If you consider the full lands Cape Photo into three Parts (1/3; 2/3; 3/3). Any one Portion of the Photo is ideally sufficient to set as contact Photo.
    4. Save the cropped Photo and save it as contact Photo.
    5. Make a couple of calls to that contact to check if full screen Photo appears after saving.

  10. I cannot get full screen picture for some of my caller ?? And all the above does not work any other ideas?

  11. Hi guys

    I don’t use Contacts from iCloud but Google Contacts instead. How can I set the fullscreen picture?

  12. Thanks for your effort. Regardless of whether or not Apple has this situation planned out this way or not—this ultimately appears to be poor design that they must know exists and choose not to address as it doesn’t apparently concern them. It shouldn’t take tips tricks and special tactics to get this to work; in other words you should only just be able to choose a photo and update your contact and BAM—that photo is full screen each time that person is called. This should have been what Apple was trying to fix in the last iOS software version that came out on the iPhone 8.

  13. I have use iphone 6 and dont show the full screen photo on contacts.

  14. I tried sync.me app. It’s only showing full screen caller I’d from social network. If I edit the photo in contact thumbnail only showing……

  15. Hey..i got an iphone 8 plus…i tried all the above mentioned things…stopped syncing contacts from icloud..installed sync me…u cannot add fullscreen additional pic other then facebook dp of your contact…dunno what to do?🙄

  16. I found the full screen only works with calls from iphone users or landlines. All my Android friends’ pictures do not show full screen.

    • Reply
      Beverly Berthold Bethmann July 26, 2019 at 9:49 pm

      Not true my Android users do show full screen but I took the photos with my iPhone.That makes a tiny difference.

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