Monday, December 9, 2013

Guest Post: Personalizing Your iPhone Screen

Today, we have a guest poster here at the Nest.  Kristine Williams is sharing some tips for personalizing your smartphone:

Personalizing Your iPhone Screen

If you’re like me, you spend way too much time on your smartphone. And why shouldn’t I? I’m a busy mom, always on the go. I keep my shopping lists there and all my apps for keeping the kids busy. I bought a good insurance policy for mine, because I'd die if it broke or got toilet-dunked by a two-year-old. I love to feel like my iPhone is mine, so I keep pictures on my lock screen and home screen. ProtectCELL offers a plan that allows you to back up all your photos so you never have to worry about losing those adorable pictures of your kids. This is my third iPhone, and I’ve learned a few tips along the way to make my screens look their best.

Setting the Screen

First, go to the Photos application. Select the picture you want. Click the box icon with the upward arrow on the lower left corner of the screen. Click “Next.” A white box with a number of icons will appear. Scroll right on the bottom row and select “Use as Wallpaper.” You can move the picture up or down, right or left, and shrink or blow it up as you like. Then click “Set.” You will have the option to set your lock screen, home screen, or both. Select as you like, and it will set your preferences.

Picture Recommendations

On the iPhone 5, the screen pixel dimensions are 640 x 1136. For quality, any recent digital camera will take a picture that is at least the quality necessary for the phone. One megapixel or better will give you a really crisp picture. Just save it to your iPhone and follow the instructions above. I prefer using my own pictures, but photo sharing sites such as and have pictures that are sized correctly for certain iPhone models. And of course, there’s an app for that. Try Cool Wallpapers, a free app from Kappboom, Inc.

Old iOS Concerns

If by chance you haven’t upgraded to iOS 7 yet (or if you have an older phone that won’t upgrade that far), there is something you should consider. I would not choose a close-up shot of a face for your home screen. I had a wonderful picture of my son for my home screen. But every time I opened a folder of apps, it split his face in half. Very disorienting, every time I saw it.

iOS 7

This problem has somewhat been resolved by iOS 7, but not in the most satisfying fashion. With the updated iOS, when you open a folder, it just obscures most of your home screen picture. At that point, I chose a textured picture like grass or leaves for my home screen.

Then there’s the parallax effect on the iPhone 5’s. This model has motion sensors. Certain editions of iOS 7 would allow the background to move with you. Some have found this a cunning development. If you like the parallax effect, you should choose a picture that is 200 pixels wider and taller than your phone. But a lot of people, myself included, found that it made them a little sick. If you want to disable it, just go to your Settings App. Click “General,” then “Accessibility.” Turn “Reduce Motion” on, and the parallax effect should be limited.

My kids love that I can readily take pictures of them with my phone. I think it’s great that I can showcase them easily with just a push of a few buttons. And my kids are delighted every time they press my Home button and see a picture of them. It helps me remember that they are the reason I’m so busy. They are the reason I’m on my phone all the time.

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