We live in a mobile world.  That’s not likely going to change any time soon.  We have mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Some of these devices are for personal use, some for work and some are now in that crazy mixed use “Bring Your Own Device” category.   And in this mobile world we are all trying very hard to use the most effective privacy and security strategies available, which for most of us means password protecting and/or encrypting those devices.  Great for privacy and security but not so great when we have a personal emergency.

Imagine you are out for a bike ride in the park, with your iPhone in your pocket.  Perhaps you are plugged in, listening to your favourite playlist as you ride.  All of a sudden, a squirrel darts out in front of you!  You swerve to avoid the critter and end up crashed in the bushes, unconscious.  The passersby and first responders find your phone properly and thoroughly locked up and have no way to access any of your contacts to let them know what has happened to you. Do not fear, there is a way to protect all of the important personal and business information on your device and help yourself at the same time.

The solution? It has come to our attention that there are apps available for most smart phones that allow you to add text to your photos.  Many of the savvy users out there are likely aware of these features, using them for posting on sites like Instagram and Twitter.  For the rest of us, here is the scoop.  These apps make it possible for you to choose a photo or wallpaper for your “lock-screen” and add information that is visible when anyone attempts to open your device.  Some are apps for purchase and some are free.  (We used Instaquote (free) for iOS and Android.  Some Android versions may also allow you to add text to your lockscreen directly from the lockscreen menu – see details below.

Try this:

1. Install and run the app of your choice.  (Some of the options will vary from app to app).

2. Using the photo icon at the bottom of the screen, find your current lock-screen photo or choose a new photo from your camera roll or photo stream, tap “use”, and it will appear on the app screen.

3. Now tap the stylo or “add text” icon and start typing, keeping in mind you’ll be able to edit and modify later. Be sure to use short emergency-contact information including as little personally identifying information as possible, for example: “In Case of Emergency: 403-123-1234.”

Tap the green check mark or Done, then put your finger on the text and drag it where you think you’d like the text to be located.

1. photo 3                  2. photo 4                  3. photo 5

Important tips: Most of the apps allow you to choose font size (aA icon) and color (paint palatte icon) so you can choose size and colour that will show up against your backdrop.

Make the font large and make sure to place the message in a place where it isn’t going to overlap any other text that appears on the lock-screen.

Instaquote allows you to blur the background (arrow icon) to make the text even more noticeable.

You can turn your screen off and on during on the editing process to see how it looks.

photo 6                 photo 7                 photo 8

4. When you’re done, tap the tool that allows you to save.  On Instaquote it’s the Capital Q.  You will be given various save options  – save it to your camera roll.  Instaquote allows you to easily add the edited photo to a separate, named folder by tapping the + sign.

5. Open the Photos app, navigate to Camera Roll, tap your new lock-screen image, and then tap the Options icon in the lower-left corner. Look on the bottom row to find the “Use as Wallpaper” option. Choose “Set” and save the edited image as your Lock Screen.

 4. photo 9                5. photo 2

For Android users with versions prior to 4.0 can use an app such as Instaquote (free) for Android to add your message to a picture and then use this picture for your Lock Screen image.

For versions 4.0 or later:

  1. Select Settings>My Device>Lock Screen (Screenshot 01)
  2. Select Lock screen widgets (Screenshot 02)
  3. Select Owner information (Screenshot 03)
  4. Type in the information you would like to appear on your Lock Screen.
  5. Select “Show owner info on lock screen” (Screenshot 04)
  6. Select OK. This will add your message on top of the photo you have already selected for your Lock Screen.

1.  Screenshot_2014-06-16-01       2.Screenshot_2014-06-16-02        3.Screenshot_2014-06-16-03       4.Screenshot_2014-06-16-04

Now, think again about that ride in the park. You’ve saved the squirrel’s life but unfortunately are still lying unconscious in the bushes. The good Samaritans who stop to help are able to find your phone, tap or swipe to open it and right away see the number of your emergency contact.

Privacy, security and peace of mind – you can have it all!