iPhoto 11 sometimes displays photos at a small size, with a black band on all four sides of the photo. This happens when I press the back and forward arrow keys to go through my event:

enter image description here

Notice the black band on all four sides of the photo.

I looked at a few photos for which this happens, and they seem to be around 1800 x 1200. This is less than the physical resolution of my display, which is 2880 x 1800. This does not happen for photos whose dimensions are larger than the screen resolution. Having said that, I'm not sure that this diagnosis is correct.

Can I tell it to always fit the photos to the screen (like Lightroom's Fit mode) as I go through the photos in my event or album using the arrow keys? That is, never leave a black band on all four sides of the photo. Thanks.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Most apps that I've used, when a "fit to screen" option is selected, will only downscale images and not do the reverse. Why would you want to? It likely won't look as good. As a note, LR doesn't upscale the image to fit either, I just checked on my Mac. Since I don't use iPhoto, I can't absolutely say and so won't post as an answer, but I doubt such an option exists. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Jan 27, 2014 at 3:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, John. I want it to upscale because I can see the photo better. I guess we have different preferences in this regard. I stand corrected regarding LR. FWIW, iPhoto does upscale too when connected to an external monitor, at 1920 x 1200, but not when using the internal display, at 2880 x 1800. So maybe it's a bug that causes iPhoto to upscale only sometimes. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 27, 2014 at 8:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ For an 1800x1200 photo on a 1920x1200 display I would doubt any upscaling has happened, it already fits vertically. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Jan 27, 2014 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


I haven't seen that option in iPhoto. The only way I've seen pictures upscaled to the screen resolution is when playing a slideshow. For that however you'll have to make a selection of pictures first and then use "play slideshow". In that mode you can use the space bar to start/stop the slideshow and the arrow keys to travel the pictures.

If that doesn't work for you you can also use the zoom control keys to make pictures fit. There is the Z key to toggle between 100% and whatever zoom ratio is used by default. And you can use Command-Plus (+) or Command-Minus (-) keys to change zoom.

An overview of more keys in iPhoto can be found here https://support.apple.com/guide/photos/keyboard-shortcuts-pht6e593112/mac

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just being pedantic here, but iPhoto was discontinued in 2015, replaced by Apple Photos. The link you provide goes to keyboard shortcuts for the Photos app. But in the larger sense, you answer is absolutely correct: Apple's built-in photo manager/viewer doesn't scale photos to fullscreen. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Aug 1, 2018 at 15:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're right. I was totally checking in the Photos app also hence the link to photos documentation. As far as I know upgrading to Photos is free and the library can be converted. Just double check your backups beforehand. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 1, 2018 at 15:09

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