I used to work at a movie theater. After every show, I’d pick up trash, sweep the floor, and check the seats for lost items. At least once per week, someone would leave a phone behind, snugly tucked into the folded crevice next to a candy wrapper or a very old piece of chewed gum. The very first thing I would do was check the phone to see if the owner had included a “home” contact (This was before cell phones had passcodes). At least 90 percent of the time, there wasn’t one. So, I’d try calling a person on the contact list that I thought would be able to help.
I always thought it was silly not to include some kind of “home” or “my other number” contact so that a Good Samaritan could help return a lost device. In my contacts, I have designated one such number. If someone finds my iPad or iPhone, they can easily see in my contacts and favorites list which number to call to return my devices.
However, I use a passcode now. So, my ingenious plan has failed. It doesn’t matter what I add to my contacts list. No one can get to it because you need a passcode. Today, I came across a very useful article from Kelly Hodgkins of TUAW. In it, Hodgkins explains how to add contact information, or other useful information, to your lock screen so a person doesn’t have to unlock your device to get to it.
I have a slightly different route, but the outcome is the same.
The first thing you will need to do is find a software program or app that will allow you to add text to an image. I chose Korawai Stamp because it’s freaking adorable. It works great, includes a lot of cute illustrations, and features a text window so you can add words to your picture. It’s also free, which is always a good thing.
You can use any photo-editing app that includes the ability to add text. There is a fairly good chance you already have one in you Photography folder on your iPad.
Grab a photo from your device’s camera roll, and then add the text information you would like to appear on the home screen For example, you could include your name and phone number or email address for someone to contact you if they find your device. You could also add some kind of funny statement, like “If you try to unlock my iPad it will self-destruct.”
After you finish editing your lock screen image, save it to your camera roll.
This is a two-step process. I’ve mentioned before that Apple messed with our ability to properly use our own images for home screen and lock screen backgrounds. We have a tutorial for resizing and turning on Reduce Motion that improves things slightly. Shortly after iOS 7 launched, a number of app developers created programs that are specifically designed to fit properly as a background Lock screen app. My personal favorite is Wallpaper Fix. It is simple, effective, and shows you a preview so you will know what the final outcome will look like.
Step two is to upload your new image into Wallpaper Fix, or any other related app, and have it properly sized to adjust with iOS 7’s parallax effects. Then, save the new image to your camera roll.
Finally, you can save that image to your Lock screen by either selecting the image from your camera roll, tapping the share button in the bottom left corner, and tapping “Use as Wallpaper,” or by going to your Settings app and selecting “Wallpaper & Brightness,” then “Choose a New Wallpaper,” and selecting the image from your camera roll.
When your screen is locked, you can tap the Home button to see your new message. That Good Samaritan has no excuse not to return your iPad to you now.