Tuesday, September 24, 2013

iOS 7 Wallpaper Problems

I’ve long used Acorn to create a custom lock screen wallpaper for my iPhone. The bulk of the image is one of my photos. At the bottom is a black bar with some white text that includes my emergency contact and health information.

(There are apps such as ICE Standard and Emergency Contact that purport to make this easy, but in my experience the images they generate look terrible and omit some of the information I entered.)

iOS 7 introduces three problems:

  1. The Control Center and camera widgets now appear at the bottom of the screen. There’s no longer a good space there to put my text. I had to move it up, which doesn’t look as good.
  2. It’s now much harder to read the white clock text on top of my photo (which is not actually that light). I added a black bar at 50% opacity to that part of the photo to increase the contrast.
  3. Most importantly, the parallax feature makes it harder to create pixel-perfect wallpapers. If you create the wallpaper at the resolution of the screen (640×960 for my iPhone 4S), iOS 7 displays it “zoomed in.” The edges (which included part of my health insurance ID) get cut off, and the text doesn’t look sharp. Presumably this is because the parallax effect requires the wallpaper to be larger than the screen, however iOS 7 does this even when the parallax effect has been turned off using the Reduce Motion setting. An Apple Support discussion on this topic already has 52,000 views and almost 300 replies. The solution seems to be to add a black border around your image—Andy Vandervell recommends 200 pixels—so that it ends up at the right size after the OS crops it. Then you have to “Move and Scale” it exactly right to manually crop out the border.

Update (2013-10-07): Dan Frakes:

If you have a lock-screen image with contact/medical/allergy info—as you should—even a single notification blocks it, with no way to dismiss the notification.

Update (2013-11-06): John Carey has some great wallpapers and recommends a resolution of 744×1392 for iPhone and 2524×2524 for iPad.

Update (2013-12-01): Even with these dimensions, I still had to “Move and Scale,” so it’s pretty much impossible to get a pixel-perfect wallpaper.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

My testing was done trying different resolutions of images, including the often rumored 200px extra and the ones I ended up using offered the most accurate, predictable results. I would set up an image and then add a red outlined box in the center of the image the size of the iPhones natural screen resolution. This allowed me to see what was being cropped where as I tilted the phone around. If I have some time to spare I will write up a post on it. Its amazing how many theories and articles I have come across about this.

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