right now I'm using 2048x1546 images at 132dpi, PNG files. they look amazing but they are huge in file size.

any tips on how to get around having such large images in both dimensions and file size? (mostly file size i'm worried about here...)

  • You'll get more and possibly better answers on StackOverflow, which is more of a technical Q&A site than here. Oct 19, 2010 at 13:23
  • @Charles It's not a programming question, so I don't think it really belongs on Stack Overflow. Of all of the Stack Exchange sites, I can't think of one where it's a perfect fit. I'm going to leave it alone for now. Oct 19, 2010 at 16:02
  • @Patrick - Exactly how is this not a programming question? He's looking for tips on how to zoom images on the iPad without sacrificing quality. Definitely a programming question. And just look at the answers - they're all programming (or at least technical) solutions. Oct 19, 2010 at 16:25
  • And so what if it is a programming questions? It's still UI related. UI takes programming.
    – DA01
    Oct 19, 2010 at 16:40
  • 1
    Without any examples on the kinds of images, it's hard to suggest fitting solutions - technical or not. Oct 19, 2010 at 16:42

4 Answers 4


The iPad screen is 1024-by-768 so to view images at 200% zoom with no pixelation you are going to need an image that's 2048 x 1546.

Possible solutions:

  1. Find or write an image viewer that does interpolation between the pixels for the higher zoom values. The images won't be pixelated, but it will be blurred.

  2. Increase the compression of the images. This will reduced the space they take up on the "drive", but they still need to be uncompressed for display.

  3. Accept some pixelation at the highest zoom factors and choose a smaller image size.

  4. Have several versions of the image for different resolutions and break the higher resolution image into chunks and only display the bits that can be seen. This is what happens with Deep Zoom type technologies as @Anders points out in his answer.

You have to balance the quality you get from the large image against the amount of memory it uses and find a compromise that's acceptable.

iPad specs

  • 2
    @miles - if you have 1024 x 788 pixels to fill you need an image that's 1024 x 768 pixels in dimension. How you got that image is not relevant to this discussion. You need to know when scanning and printing.
    – ChrisF
    Oct 19, 2010 at 18:11
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    Or displaying at actual size on a monitor which is not what this question is about.
    – ChrisF
    Oct 19, 2010 at 18:56

You could probably use Seadragon Ajax - it's the javascript implementation of Silverlights DeepZoom.

See the answer on Get Satisfaction for Seadragon Ajax


Do you have to use PNG files? JPGs can be compressed quite a bit more if these are photographic in nature.


I don't know how you can reduce the image dimensions but reducing the file size of PNG images is easy:

  1. Reduce number of colors - this will have the biggest affect but might , depending on the image, also have a similar big impact on image quality (for an example open the image in your favorite image editor, run the posterize effect and save).

  2. Drop unnecessary information and improve compression - there are a lot of programs that do that, from my experiments PNGOUT is the most effective, this will not effect the image quality.

There are a lot of other things you can do but from my experience those two are where you will get major improvements for little work.

Also, you should know those will reduce the file size, this does not mean they will reduce the amount of memory needed to display the image (in most cases they won't)

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