The iPhone has a software setting to add profile photos for contacts. When enabled, it brings a full-screen photo caller ID in the background of the screen for incoming calls. However, at times the image of the contact in iPhone appears as a small circle at the top-right corner of the screen. Some say that the contact images turn thumbnails when you don’t have the original picture in Photos app, and if iCloud sync is not ON. A few others blame the size of the image file and its dimensions that doesn’t fit the iPhone display. This post explores the methods to fix this issue.
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 coming inside a circle when 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 13.
- First of all, delete the existing picture from iCloud.com, and the phone’s contact profile.
- Now, open the Photos app to select an image that you want to add for the contact.
- Take a screenshot of the selected photo by keeping the device in portrait mode.
- Assign this screenshot as the contact image by using the Phone app in iPhone.
- Save the changes, and ask your contact to make a call.
Just do it again if you do not see any changes. And the second time, use pinch-and-zoom to move the parts to the photo to fit in the circle that appears. Avoid the Black border in the top and bottom section of the photo when you keep it in the portrait mode for the screenshot. Such a photo may not fit the iPhone display in full size.
Things you can try to keep the iPhone contact photos in full-screen size
I use the above trick to get full-screen incoming caller ID photo for my contacts on iPhone 8 Plus. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it useful for random images sizes and when I do iCloud sync. There isn’t a permanent solution for this problem, all you can follow trial- and error method. Check out a few more options based on my experience and on suggestions from our readers.
- 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 and disable data access for the apps.
- Use the photo taken with your iPhone camera for contacts. Pictures from the selfie camera are perfect for caller ID.
- Crop the caller ID image to have dimensions (or it’s multiples) of your iPhone display size.
- Use third-party apps like Sync.me for contact management and caller photo identification.
Our video tutorial on adding photos to iPhone for full screen caller image is given below.
Fix iPhone contact photos appearing in a small circle for incoming calls [alternative]
As of March 2020, the above method works on iOS 13. In case you still not able to get full-screen caller ID on your device, the best 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.
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.
- Download and Install the Sync.Me app, here.
- Accept the permission to access contact information.
- Press on the Get Started to button to begin.
- Verify your mobile number with Sync.Me through OTP.
- Touch the Sync button, which opens the option to sync from social networking apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Click on the + icon and follow the instructions on Sync.Me UI to link your social profile to the app.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 contact 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.