SHORTCUT: Create Lock Screens w/ Image & Text Overlay

I love the latest features of the iOS Lock Screen. In particular, I often use the Lock Screen widgets. (Aside: The iOS app Shortflow is an inexpensive app that adds some very nice enhancements to the widgets.)

Also, for many years, I’ve overlayed some small and light text on my Lock Screen image that included my wife’s phone number. I’ve never lost my phone, but I like to have this information available just in case I leave it behind somewhere.

Since being a relatively new Pappy, I’ve enjoyed using cute photos of my grandkids on my Lock Screen. Since they are growing fast, I’ve wanted to change the Lock Screen often.

These factors have motivated me to create and share this shortcut.


The purpose of this shortcut is to create a Lock Screen image that includes a background (normally dark), an overlayed image (e.g., a lifted subject from an image) and/or overlayed text (e.g., If found, please call 800-555-1212).

The shortcut resizes and positions the overlayed image and/or text. The image scaling can be optionally specified to avoid the area of the Lock Screen that includes widgets. By default, the overlayed text appears near the bottom of the Lock Screen.


  1. Select an image in the Photos app to be the Lock Screen background. This image, which will be used in this shortcut, must be cropped using the WALLPAPER constraint. When first testing this shortcut, select a a constrained image that is mostly dark.

  2. If you plan to overlay an image, place it in the Photos app. Optionally edit (i.e., crop, etc.) the image. One option to consider is to lift a subject from a photo (instructions: Lift a subject from the photo or video background on iPhone) and share the lifted image back to the Photos app.

  3. Optionally change values in the two dictionaries found at the top of the shortcut. For example, if you plan to overlay text, you’ll likely want to modify the phoneNo entry in the first dictionary to the number of a spouse or friend. Values in the second dictionary should only be changed after fully understanding the shortcut logic.

  4. Optionally change values in two of the actions within this shortcut: 1) Overlay Image, and 2) Overlay Text. For example, if you prefer to use a background image that is generally light, you might want to modify the default Font Color in the Overlay Text action. Refer to the comments above the respective actions for more information. These comments include a series of exclamation marks (:exclamation::exclamation::exclamation::exclamation::exclamation:) for easy identification.

  5. Run this shortcut. The new Lock Screen image with the overlay(s) will be created in the Photos app.

  6. Modify the Lock Screen selecting the newly created image (instructions: Create a custom iPhone Lock Screen).

Note: After selecting the Lock Screen image, if it appears larger than expected, give it a small pinch to position it as it was designed to be used. This step is not always required.

[ continued on RoutineHub ]


Since the OP of this thread, I’ve updated the shortcut. However for some unknown reason, the Discourse settings are preventing me from updating the post. I’ve flagged the post for moderation hoping that might alert a forum administrator, but thus far the post is still note editable. As a stopgap, I’ve provided a link below to this shortcut in Automators Talk.

I’ve updated Create Lock Screens w/ Image & Text Overlay to Version 2.0:

  1. Created Lock Screen can create new or replace a selected Lock Screen.

  2. Added settings: mode, newHelp, saveAllNewLockScreens.

  3. Improved the Purpose and Instructions.

  4. Bug Fix: Setting txtType was not functioning as expected due to a typo.

To download Version 2.0, please refer to a similar thread on Automators Talk.

Congrats on your new Pappiness and to the family :heart: :slight_smile:

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