How to Create a Custom iPhone/iPad Wallpaper to Encourage a Safe Return When Lost

Let's face it, an iPhone and/or iPad is a pretty hefty investment. Sure, it may only cost $200 -$400 (depending on the model) to purchase a subsidized iPhone from your cell carrier, but have you ever had to replace that phone before your contract is up? You can tack on another $300 or so (depending on your carrier). All of a sudden, a lost device becomes very expensive to replace.

It may not happen every time you lose a device, but in some cases, the finder actually does want to learn who the owner is so that they can return it. We've been taught (and it's good practice) to always use a passcode to protect the data on your device in case it does end up lost. But if the finder can't get into your device, how will they know who it belongs to and how to return it? Simple.

Instead of using a generic wallpaper, it may be worth creating a custom wallpaper. This custom wallpaper could include important contact information that would allow the finder to get in touch with you. In my case, I decided to include my phone number (not my cell number, but another number for obvious reasons), Messages contact info and email address. Anyone who finds my lost device should be able to get in touch with me using at least one of these three contact methods. You may want to include other information, but I would avoid using a home address (too many stalkers out there). In short, only include the information that you're ok with anyone seeing and having access to.

Creating a custom wallpaper is pretty easy, but does require an image editor like PhotoShop or PhotoShop Elements. You can either start with a fresh, empty document and go from there, or you can start by using an existing image that is resized to fit your specific device. Below is a list of resolutions for various devices (not a complete listing, but it shows most of the commonly-used devices):

  • iPhone 4/4s: 640x960
  • iPhone 5/5s: 640x1136
  • iPhone 6: 750x1334
  • iPhone 6 Plus: 1080x1920
  • iPad: 1024x768
  • iPad Air with Retina: 1536x2048
  • iPad mini: 1024x768
  • iPad mini 2: 1536x2048

Once you have created your custom wallpaper, drag and drop it into your iPhoto/Photos library, and sync it to your device using iTunes (if you are using iCloud Photo Library, the photo should sync to your device automatically).

Now that the image is on your device, go to Settings > Wallpaper to set your new image as the wallpaper. That's it!

In addition to a custom wallpaper, it's also a great idea to make sure that "Find my iPhone" is enabled!

Posted on May 18, 2015 and filed under Design, How To, iPhone, iPad, Opinion.