Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lost and found: putting contact info on iOS and OS X login screens

Most people are reasonably honest, and for some integrity is a point of pride.

So if you lose your iOS or OS X device there's a good chance it will be found by an honest person. Alas, at that point they're stuck. They have no way to know who to return the device to, especially if it's encrypted (as it should be).

It's easy to remedy this for an iOS device. You can make any image the background for the iOS login screen. I typed my contact info into an iOS Note, saved it as a screenshot, then made it my login background. For good measure I taped a business card into the back of my Speck iPhone case.

Things aren't as easy for OS X, including Lion. There's no tool for changing the login screen background, you have to hack it. On an Air, you can't even tape a business card or write contact info on the battery. (Yes, you could try a Sharpie on the back. That takes a Vulcan dedication to logic!).

For my Air I put my contact info into the password "hint" box. If someone clicks on the question mark next to my name on the login screen they'll see it. This is subtle though, so I'll probably hack the login screen too, and use a pixel editor to put my contact info there too. I did something like this once with a digital camera.

Apple should make it easier for honest people to help us out ...

Update: Yay! There's an official way to do this in Lion. KimH had the tip in comments. I'm starting to like Lion a bit more ...

1 comment:

Kimh said...

Lion finally provides an option to put a message on your lock screen. Info here: