Did you know that 61% of mobile sites don’t allow you to zoom? We’ve fixed that for you in Opera for Android 34, which we’ve released today.

When launching the latest Opera for Android, you’ll notice a snappier performance, as we’ve made a number of UI performance improvements to make it run better on lower spec devices.

And, we’ve responded to a recurring feature request:  an option to allow you to zoom on any website, no matter how the site has been configured by the owner.

I was curious how many sites were using this kind of “zoom lock”, so I started digging around in the HTTP Archive, a website that tracks how the web is built, by crawling a large set of popular websites and collecting historic information about them. HTTP Archive has stats showing the decline of flash or the rise of web fonts, for instance, and offers a large set of raw data dumps you can analyze for yourself.

I picked up a recent data set (Dec 1, 2015) showing a list of top websites — 4,762, to be exact — loaded on Android via Chrome emulation. I first looked at how many sites serve a mobile-optimized, responsive experience to mobile visitors: 82% of websites do so, which is great to see.

However, out of that set of mobile-optimized sites, a staggering 61% lock the zoom level completely, which makes the sites really hard to use for people with vision problems. These people need to be able to zoom — yet, in most cases, this zoom lock is there for no apparent reason at all.

So, this is where our newest feature comes in: if you click on the red “O”, go to Settings, and check Force enable zoom, you will be able to take back control and zoom in on (almost) any site. For now, you have to enable the “Force enable zoom” feature manually, but we’re investigating whether we can turn it on by default, just like we’ve done with automatic text wrap.

Download Opera for Android 34 today from Google Play and give “Force enable zoom” a try. Then, let us know how it works for you! And, please file a bug report if you find a site not working with it.

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  • Giapin

    Great feature. May the force zoom with you!

    • Ruth_opera

      I suggest a new strategy, R2. Let the zoom in.

      • Giapin

        Through the zoom, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past. Old friends long gone.

        • Ruth_opera

          That’s no zoom, it’s a space station!

          • Giapin

            I give up. You win!

          • Ruth_opera

            hahaha I was really scraping the barrel there 😛 but gave me a giggle. Happy holidays to you!

          • Giapin

            Glad jul och ett gott nytt ar!

  • http://nicolas-hoizey.com/ Nicolas Hoizey

    Will you provide this on iOS too?

    Also, the only project where I locked the zoom is a game ( http://v2.esviji.com/ ), I will see what zooming does, when playing…

    • Ruth_opera

      Let us know how it goes Nicolas 🙂 We don’t have plans for iOS at the moment but we’d love to bring more control features like this to all our browsers so let’s see about the future

      • Rj Navendu Kumar

        ruth madam what is windows opera mini update what you pla for windows phone pl tell when sycronisation is coming

        • Rj Navendu Kumar

          ruth madam it is now 1.5 years no book mark sycronisation for opera mini for windows and no facilities like opera mini for andriod atleast giveus book mark so we are able to use opera mini on windows phone can you please atleast tell me what would be time frame for book mark sycronisation in opera mini for windows???????

        • Ruth_opera

          Hi again Navendu, for at least the near future we’re just focusing on stability and performance. No feature updates for a while. We’ll be reviewing again next year but nothing planned yet

  • NoName

    Thank you!
    I have “often” quit using a site because of the zooming restriction.

    I think most of the time the zoom lock is done because the web developer did not know any better, or because it worked just fine on his/her own device.

    That being said, i don’t like it to be the default setting, because then there is no way for a developer to actually lock the screen when actually needed.
    When I change an option as a user, I know that i can potentially change the behaviour of the sites I visit.
    For instance, how about WebGL games that fit to the screen dimensions? Zooming here could lead to problems.
    Overriding what is considered a web standard, as default, is not something I would like to see.

    • Ruth_opera

      These are really good points and we’ve thought about this a lot too. It’s important to try and get a balance between respecting web admins/devs decisions about their own site but also providing accessibility and control options to the user.
      Let us know how you find it on the sites you come across, really curious to see the affects on different gaming sites like you say

  • iemand

    Not only for people with vision problems. I ride the bus / train and it’s very annoying when the font can’t be changed. It gives me headaches as I’m required to focus a lot on smaller words while in a moving vehicle.

    So THANK YOU Opera! This is making my day!

    • Ruth_opera

      This is very true! Thanks for your support 🙂

  • Kev87

    Nice addition to the browser! Keep innovating! You are the best! 🙂

    • Ruth_opera

      Cheers Kev! Happy browsing to you

  • lyrefeng

    hi .i don’t know where to make a suggestion .so i post it here .as a Android pad user ,i really don’t like the automatic full screen function .and it seems user don’t have the choice to stop the full screen .so will you add that selection to the next version of opera ?and one more thing .some mobile version of the site are really ugly,sometimes i like to open the deskversion of those sites . so will you guys make it easier to open a desk version of the site ,just like Chrome does .thank you .

    • Ruth_opera

      Hey, you can change the user agent to Desktop in the settings 🙂 when you say auto full screen do you mean viewing videos or something else?

      • lyrefeng

        hi, thank you for your reply . i know the changing user agent .but it is really so complicated。i hope it can be as easy as Chrome does .and the “full screen” means when browsing the website , the tab bar and the adress bar automatic hide.

        • Ruth_opera

          Ahh I understand more now. Does it help to change the App layout under settings? If you select “Phone” there’s only the top bar and that disappears as your browsing through a site. We’re still working on new settings and improvements so keep us up to date with your thoughts

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  • Frenzie

    Always being able to zoom in is good, but you forgot about making you able to zoom out.

    • Ruth_opera

      Hey Frenzie, do you have example sites where having extra zoom out would be useful? If the mobile version is too zoomed in for you, you could try switching to desktop user agent in the settings

      • Frenzie

        This very one and any mobile optimized site. Desktop user agent makes no difference. You cannot actually zoom to your heart’s desire like on desktop.

  • dirgas

    The force is stronger in Opera. A powerful Browser will become!

  • neodraig

    Opera is already my favourite Android browser (I love the text wrap feature) but it’s just got even better with that new forced zoom option.

    Thank you SO much !!!

  • b_c

    “Attention to run Opera you need more space”… On a new machine with 16GB internal memory, 64GB external storage and less than 1/2 of 2GB RAM in use. Uninstalling.

  • Leo

    I can’t register for opera in CHINA. How? linshouyimail@163.com