Tech Tuesday: Clever home screen for people who are likely to lose their phones

“I’m prone to losing things,” said a mom I sat next to yesterday at the park, and then she proceeded to tell me about driving away with her cell phone on the roof of her car. I can relate, and I’m quite surprised that I have not lost a cell phone yet. Except in my own house for a couple hours at a time.

How to make an "if lost" screen for your phone.

My husband has a clever home screen set up on his phone. It shows a picture of us and reads “Ryan’s phone. If found, call 510.555.1837 for rewardz”, where the 555 number is our home phone number.


When Heather and I went to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration last week, I was worried about losing my phone on the road, so I made a new home screen for myself and put her phone number on it since she and I were together without our partners. She did the same, and luckily neither of us lost our phone, even with all that getting on and off of rides at a theme park.

Please excuse the obscuring of our phone numbers, Internet.

How to make a home screen with text on it

Home screen idea for moms who tend to lose things.

I used the app Over, which allows you to open an image and type text on top. Here’s how to do it

  • Install the app Over on your phone. ($1.99 and worth it. See how I used it on Valentine’s Day.)
  • Open the app and choose a photo from your phone that will become your background. Select one that has enough negative space that you can put text on it. An area with sky, grass, or concrete works well.
  • Click Add Text and then double tap to type your text.
  • Once you’ve typed the message you want to display, “If found, please call XXX-XXX-XXXX”, you can drag the text to place it and pinch it to resize. Don’t place your message too high or too low on the photograph.
  • Rotate the navigation wheel on Over to get the SAVE button. Your edited image will be in your Camera Roll. (I’m going with iPhone terminology here today.)
  • Now, go into settings on your phone and find Wallpapers.
  • Select “Choose a New Wallpaper” and select the image you just created with text on it.
  • Scale the image as necessary to place the text in the visible area of the phone. It might take you a couple of takes to get the size and placement of the text right.  A portrait-oriented image makes this easier.

If you are a Photoshop maven and want to create a custom wallpaper for your phone on your computer, and then email it to your device, here are the dimensions:

  • iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th gen – 1136 x 640
  • iPad Air, iPad 4, iPad 3, iPad mini with Retina display – 2048 x 1536
  • iPad 2, original iPad mini – 1028 x 768
  • iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 – 960 x 640