How Basic Apple Guy turned a hobby into a thriving social media community
From engaging over 100,000 followers to designing radiant wallpapers, Basic Apple Guy is anything but basic
In 2020, after years of following the Apple community, Basic Apple Guy decided to make his enthusiasm official by launching a dedicated Twitter account. Now, over two years later, he’s grown his own budding community of over 100,000 Twitter followers and more than 6,600 Instagram followers — all while running a blog on his own website.
Beyond talking all things Apple, he’s also known for designing jaw-dropping, vibrant wallpapers for all kinds of Apple devices. Needless to say, we were thrilled he agreed to share his story with us.
Could you tell us more about what you do?
Basic Apple Guy is just a sliver of what I do! I’m not a graphic designer, have never sought any training in design or engineering, nor do I have any experience working in the tech sector. I work in a hospital setting, specifically in mental health. If you or someone you know has looked into mental health support for yourself or your family, odds are you have come across someone like me — who has hopefully helped you get the needed services and support.
What’s the story behind Basic Apple Guy? How did you come up with the idea, and what keeps you going?
I’ve always been the proverbial ‘longtime listener, first-time caller’ in the Apple community. But in February 2020, I finally decided to take the next step and create my Twitter account to interact more with the Apple community. The COVID-19 lockdowns gave me an unexpected bounty of time at home to further this pursuit into a blog, which continued to roll into wallpapers, articles, and other design work. I never would’ve imagined any of this when I first started.
Have you always been into design? How did you get started?
My passion for design has had fits and starts. There have been long stretches of time when I haven’t done any design work, followed by a year or two when I was a hobbyist tinkering with tools like Sketch, Pixelmator, and Adobe Photoshop. But I’ve always had a great appreciation for design, and I’ve always envied icon and app designers for their skill and ability to translate and craft their ideas into beautiful products. But I got in my own way.
I would see beautiful graphic design and get caught up in the mindset that getting started was futile because my work didn’t look close to that. It was when I gave myself lots of free time to doodle and enjoy designing that the reduced pressure furthered my passion and interest to pursue more creative projects.
I would see beautiful graphic design and get caught up in the mindset that getting started was futile because my work didn’t look close to that. It was when I gave myself lots of free time to doodle and enjoy designing that the relaxed pressure furthered my passion and interest to pursue more creative projects.
A lot of your work is very vibrant and colorful. How would you describe your style?
Eclectic and experimental, to say the least. No one who makes minimal gradient artworks, switches to 6,000-piece laptop schematics, and then tries their hand at some pixel art wallpapers could say differently.
We’re big fans of your wallpaper designs! Where does your inspiration come from? And when will your next one drop?
A lot of my wallpapers are inspired by Apple — from their event invites, lore, and architecture to their product designs. I’ve created everything from wallpapers celebrating the Apple Stage to wallpapers inspired by the original iPhone Apple Event invite. But perhaps a crowd favorite has been the schematics I’ve made, crafted from tear-downs of Apple products. I’ve always had an affinity for little details, so these meticulous wallpapers were right up my alley.
I’m currently working on schematics for the iPhone 14 lineup, which have drawn on what I’ve learned over the past three years to produce some of my favorite wallpapers to date. I can’t wait to get those out.
Apart from wallpapers, what else do you love designing?
Over the past year, I’ve also dabbled with app concept designs. My interest in design also extends to how apps look and function. I’ve given learning to code the old college try, but I’ve always struggled with finding the requisite time and retaining the information. So in place of that skillset failing to launch, I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment from designing app mock-ups.
Has Sketch always been your primary design tool? Could you tell us more about what practices and features you use the most?
While I’ve used various design tools, these past three years have been the longest and most sustained period of design work, primarily inside Sketch and Pixelmator Pro.
I’m an extremely basic Sketch user, so over the past couple of years I’ve focused mostly on getting more comfortable with drawing and combining vector shapes to produce some of the intricate geometries of my more recent designs.
When you compare the iPhone 13 Pro schematic from late 2021 with something like my recent MacBook Air teardown, I hope you can see the results. Previously flat components now show depth, dimension and texture — and are often comprised of dozens of hand-crafted layers.
What are some of your all-time favorite products, trends, or just things from Apple? And why?
I have lovingly used many Apple products over the past two decades. And while many have been really great tools, a few have brought me an extra bit of delight that places them above the others. It’s a bit hard to explain, but it’s more than just how a product looks; it’s also how I feel while using it. Products like the iPod did that — a beautiful tool, but it made listening to music feel unique and precious in a way other MP3 players didn’t.
Currently, that effect is almost mimicked by the AirPods Max, and I love putting them on and getting lost in the experience of using them. Other favorite devices eliciting this feeling have been the 12-inch MacBook, M1 iMac, M2 MacBook Air, iPad mini, and any Apple Watch.
I look forward to any moment I get to use them!
You recently hit 100,000 Twitter followers. Congrats! Did you ever imagine you’d grow such a large audience? And what’s your next milestone?
Thanks! Hitting 100,000 users on Twitter was surreal. Again, this whole thing started as a lockdown pandemic project and a way for me to do a little bit of Apple blogging and connect with the community. In fact, on February 6 back in 2020, after creating the account, I wrote: “Giving this a 20% chance of going anywhere, but I created a new Twitter handle to use for posting, interacting, and commenting on Apple-related news. We’ll see…” So literally every follower or opportunity I get is far beyond what I had ever dreamed of this site becoming.
No next milestone per se, but the growth is always hugely rewarding. It gets my projects in front of more people, which helps me feel I can commit more time to this account — which in turn gives me flights of fancy to consider how I might be able to turn this into more of a full-time thing as opposed to my hobby.
Are there any designers or creators you admire?
I grew up ogling the work of David Lanham and the other folks at the Iconfactory. I knew I would never be very handy or crafty regarding physical tools and construction, but their work showed me that the same level of care and craftsmanship could extend into a digital space.
Do you have any tips for new designers or creators looking to build a solid audience from scratch?
I’m trying to think of a tip for designers and creators that doesn’t give off a false air of “if I can do it, so can you.” I got really lucky to have my account grow the way it did, but I also worked very hard to get it here. I consistently post, and try to offer a mix of my own content, content celebrating Apple’s history, and, yes, the odd meme here or there. I engage a lot with the community and keep my posting focus extremely specific — just Apple stuff. My best tip is to post and share content you love and care about, post consistently, and tie your posts to what’s currently being discussed.
My best tip is to post and share content you love and care about, post consistently, and tie your posts to what’s currently being discussed.
And to wrap up, are there any upcoming projects you’re especially excited about? Anything you can give us a tease of?
I’ve spent the past two months working on schematics for the iPhone 14 line Apple announced in September. I’ve pulled out all the stops and applied learnings from the past couple of years into these — and I made them all entirely inside Sketch!
You can follow Basic Apple Guy on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with his latest work!