These fans wear Apple love on their fingertips


most loved brands
Apple gets plenty of love from its customers according to the Netbase report of Most Loved Brands.
Photo: Viktoria Fomchenkova

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugLauren Wilkin’s life was about to get better. So she decorated her fingernails to reflect her shift in social status much like women of royalty did 7,000 years before.

Upper-class Egyptian women may have had a front-row seat to a growing civilization, but none experienced the excitement of trading in an iPhone 4 for an iPhone 6.

Wilkin carefully painted silhouettes joyfully dancing against blue and pink backgrounds on the index and pinky nails, the memorable Apple ad that sold millions of iPods. The nail on the ring finger was white, centered with a glittery gold Apple logo. The middle nail, more gold glitter around the word “iPhone.”

“I was very excited,” Wilkin, a recent graduate of Tulane University and soon-to-be-certified public accountant, told Cult of Mac. “I try to do nails with themes that are relevant to something that’s going on in my life and I felt that the switch from the 4 to 6 was a big change for me — and I also love Apple products.”

Surprisingly, Wilkin has no background in drawing or painting. She taught herself nail art from looking at Instagram and watching YouTube videos. The silhouetted iPod dancers were painted freehand using a striper brush, an ultra-thin brush used by nail artists for fine details.

Apple nail art
Trading up iPhones was such a big deal to Lauren Wilkin, she artistically marked her nails for the occasion.
Photo: Lauren Wilkin

Nail-safe technology

Wilkin is by no means alone in expressing her love for Apple and technology on her nails. Type in the search words like “iPhone nails” or “Apple nails” in Instagram or Pinterest, and find shiny examples of colorfully adorned hands, both chic and geeky at once.

The work ranges in quality, from crude and sloppy to meticulous fine art. Iconic brand logos and app symbols naturally migrate to these micro canvasses of hardened layers of skin because of color and designs that are minimalist and immediately recognizable.

Jen Folse made a notable appearance as a presenter on stage at Apple’s fall product launch in 2015, a rare female executive presenting for a company often criticized for a lack of diversity. But she also scored major cool points for her nails painted with wavy lines of blue, pink, red, yellow and white to look like Siri’s Apple Watch interface.

Apple nail art
Apple Senior Design Producer Jen Folse with her Siri nails.
Photo: Lia Napolitano

Jailbreak Apple nails

A few female techies, like soap opera star and confessed iPhone hacker Melissa Archer, recently featured in Cult of Mac, will embellish the surface of a nail or two with a piece of circuitry from an old handset.

“I took an iPhone 4s that I had stripped for parts and started to find what I thought would look good,” said Archer, who will tech-deck her nails for hackers’ conferences. She went to a salon, which hand-painted a logic board on one nail and “took the iPhone part I wanted to add and adhered it to my nail with acrylic. After the first time doing it, I was addicted. I had to go completely crazy for JailbreakCon and Defcon right after.”

Apple nail art
Do these look like hands that belong to an iPhone hacker? Yes.
Photo: Melissa Archer

Red Betty beauties

Erin Williams, owner of Red Betty Nails in Austin, Texas, said her artists are used to ambitious design ideas in a city known for creatives, especially in music and technology.

For one customer, an employee of a nearby Apple Store, Red Betty Nails applied a simple pink polish with an Apple logo on a single nail to standout. The salon then photographed its handiwork with the customer’s Apple Watch as a prop.

Apple nail art
This Apple Store employee understands how important her hands are to a sale.
Photo: Red Betty Nails

“She thinks having her nails nicely done is better on the sales floor since she’s showing people products with her hands,” Williams said. “We have several requests to do logos. Since we are in Austin and there is so much tech, we have had requests for Apple, Dell, Blizzard and HomeAway themed nails.”

College student Amanda Latchman of New York wants to be a nail technician and often tries to come up with designs on her own nails she can post with hopes the picture will go viral.

Apple nail art
The apps on Amanda Latchman’s iPhone 6s spoke to her.
Photo: Amanda Latchman

“I was staring at my iPhone 6s and it hit me,” Latchman said. “I can do nails that look just like the iPhone apps. The apps have beautiful gradients and easy icons that describe what the apps are.”

Below are further examples of nail art with Apple and the symbols that guide user experience as muses.

Apple nail art
Blending in with great industrial design.
Photo: shoomkova_nails/Instagram
Apple nail art
Click on these apps.
Photo: nailsbynikkihanks/Instagram
Apple Nail art
Pink Lady Apple.
Photo: avrora_blonda/Instagram
Apple nail art
The making of the Instagram logo on a false nail.
Photo: celinedoesnails/Instagram
Apple nail art
Apps inside the iPhone migrate out.
Photo: subject_nails/Instagram