I'm looking to set up some custom backgrounds for iOS and using Apple Configurator to drag an image into the lock screen tab of the preferences and the tool crops the image for me.

So, considering that there are iPhone 4S and earlier screens, iPhone 5 screens as well as iPad screens - I'm a little confused as to how to prepare an image so I can understand what will be cropped for each screen, both horizontally and vertically.

I can only see the portrait layout and it's not clear if the tool is showing me an iPhone 5 or iPhone 4 S sized crop (or any horizontal layouts).

Is there a book, blog or help guide that explains what size image is best used for this lock screen customization so I can pre-plan the crop areas for each size screen? If not, has anyone done the work to know what areas are visible on the current iOS devices when you prepare them automatically with Apple Configurator?

1 Answer 1


Your probably best of if you crop the photos yourself. Here are the pixel counts that work best for each screen size:

iOS devices: display sizes

  • 320×480 pixels : iPhone (1st generation), iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPod touch (1st–3rd generation)
  • 640×960 pixels : iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (4th generation)
  • 640×1136 pixels : iPhone 5/5s/5c, iPod touch (5th generation) Retina display
  • 1024×768 pixels : iPad, iPad 2, iPad mini (non-retina)
  • 2048×1536 pixels : iPad Air, retina iPad mini and iPad (3rd–4th generation), all of which have Retina display

Automate resizing using Automator

Automator let’s you easily crop images. See my screenshot below for explanation and just click the actions together.

You can automate resizing the photos with Automator, if you don’t demand to choose an extract of your photo.

Rember to use “crop images” with “scale before crop: Scale to Short Side”:

After finishing your workflow you could add a thousands images and let your Mac do the work. You will be prompted to select your images (see first action).

Just adapt the sizes for your corresponding device. You could also merge this into one workflow. Just duplicate the last three steps and change the suffix (_iphone5) in action “Add text”.

Here is an example image* went through my Automator workflow.



Resizing using an application

You could use the free app Ensoul Wallpapers from the Mac App Store. This let’s you choose an image extract.

The maker of another app (deko) documents the sub-pixel shifts that parallax changes can have at http://dekoapp.com/parallax/

I hope my answer helps you with your problem concerning your image size and how to resize them. Unfortunately, I do not see an option to set a background image in Apple Configurator (Version 3.5 (289)).

* image by interfacelift.com

  • Woot! I've moved the pixel counts to the top. I'll experiment with a few images as you have given me a starting point. I'll probably edit in some "opinion" once I see how loading the same image on all 4 devices works when Apple crops them for the distinct versions. This is an awesome and detailed answer. Thanks!
    – bmike
    May 12, 2013 at 15:51
  • I have a wallpaper for an iPhone 5S that is managed through an MDM, and it is 640 x 1136. But every time I set the wallpaper through the MDM, it shows up zoomed in, despite being the correct resolution. Any workarounds?
    – shim
    Jul 25, 2016 at 20:42

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