Build a custom lock screen to save your iPhone, your iPad, or even your life
If someone finds your lost iPhone or iPad, the first thing they’ll do is turn it on. If you’re in an accident, or you have a medical emergency, first responders often look for your phone or tablet to identify you and learn important information such as allergies and blood type. In this video tip, we show you how to easily create a custom lock-screen image that can save your device—or you.
I’m Macworld senior editor Dan Frakes.
iCloud’s Find My iPhone or iPad feature is handy for tracking down your device if it’s lost; for sending a message to someone who might have it; or even for wiping its contents if you decide it’s unrecoverable. But what if a Good Samaritan finds your device before you even realize it’s missing? Or what if you’re in an accident, or have a medical emergency, and you want to make it easy for emergency personnel to discover vital information about you?
The easiest solution is to create a custom lock-screen image that contains important information you’d want someone to see if they find your device. You can create such an image using any image-editing app on your computer, but I’ve found that the easiest way to do so is right on your iOS device using a neat app called Over. Though its advertised as a way to let you add artwork and text to your photos, Over is perfect for making a custom lock screen.
Launch Over, and you see a screen for choosing or taking a photo. If you just want text on a black background, tap the yellow triangle, then tap Add, and then Add Text. Otherwise, tap Take Photo to take a photo with your device’s camera, or Albums to choose an existing wallpaper image from your photo albums. (You can find lots of great wallpaper images online; just save them to your device’s Photos app.)
Once you’ve got your image, tap Add Text, and then double-tap the existing text to edit it. Include all the important information you want to appear on your lock screen: your name, phone number, email address, blood type, allergies, and so on. If you’re making the image for your iPhone, remember to use a different phone number—presumably of a family member or friend, or your work number. You can also choose the text color.
Tap Done, then tap Font to choose a different font for your text. For additional text tweaks, tap the yellow arrow, and then tap Edit. Here you can choose the text opacity, tint, spacing, and alignment. You can also use two fingers to zoom in or out on your text until you get the size you want.
For all devices, you want to keep your text relatively small and in the center of the screen. If it’s too big, or too high or low, it might overlap the lock screen’s own text; too far left or right on an iPad, and it might be cut off when you rotate the device to landscape orientation.
Finally, tap the yellow arrow again, and then tap Save to save your new lock screen to the Camera Roll on your device.
Now open the Settings app and tap Wallpapers & Brightness. Tap Choose a New Wallpaper, tap Camera Roll, and then tap your newly created lock screen. Make sure it looks good in both landscape and portrait orientation, and then tap Set Lock Screen.
Now whenever anyone wakes your device, your information is displayed right there on the lock screen. With any luck, this info will help your device find its way back to you—or it may even save your life.
Thanks for watching.