iPhone Lock Screen Privacy and Security Tips

Keep your notifications private

A cell phone displaying a padlock sits next to a big shiny silver key

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Are iPhone lock screen notifications driving you nuts? You can customize or even hide the sensitive information that these notifications sometimes display.

The iPhone lock screen has gone from having little useful information on it to become a virtual billboard for app notifications, alerts, and messages. Some of this information might be personal, and you might not want someone who is standing next to you to see it. If you leave your iPhone unattended at your desk, for instance, anyone can see your notifications.

All of these tips apply to iPhone devices running iOS 10 or newer, and possibly older versions, too.

Pick a Strong Lock Screen Passcode

One of the most important things you can do to secure your phone while you're away from it is to implement a passcode — not just the four-digit kind, either.

However, a strong password won't guard against someone looking over your shoulder or viewing your phone's lock screen. To keep your lock screen totally safe, you need to manage the lock screen notifications.

Disable Lock Screen Notifications

Hide notifications on the lock screen so that only alerts from certain apps (or no apps) appear while your phone is locked. You have total control over which apps can show lock screen notifications.

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Notifications towards the top of the screen.

  2. Tap an app from the list for which you want to change the lock screen visibility.

  3. From the ALERTS section, tap Lock Screen to disable notifications from showing up on the lock screen. You could instead select the button next to Allow Notifications to disable all notifications for that app, but that will also remove banner and Notification Center pop-ups, which you might still want.

    Settings, Notifications, and Messages screens on iPhone

    If you're not using the most recent iOS version, use the button next to Show on Lock Screen to turn it off.

  4. Repeat the process with every app in the list to either turn on or off its ability to display on the lock screen.

Turn Off Siri Access From the Lock Screen

Siri is handy when easily accessible, and having it there on the lock screen is usually ideal. Although that's true, and having her available there still requires security access, you might want to shut her off so that she can't be commanded to show anything private while your phone is locked.

To disable Siri from the lock screen, go to Settings and tap Siri & Search. Scroll down a bit and tap the button next to Allow Siri When Locked.

Siri & Search and Allow Siri When Locked toggle

Disable Notification Center Previews on Lock Screen

By default, anyone who picks up your phone can see all of your notifications. You can turn off lock screen notifications while still getting them when you unlock your phone.

  1. Use the Settings app to open the Notifications section.

  2. Select Show Previews at the top.

  3. Tap When Unlocked to make sure notification previews show up only after you've unlocked your phone. Or, you can disable Notification Center previews even when your phone is unlocked, by selecting Never.

    Settings, Notifications, Show Previews screens for iPhone

Turn Off Message Previews

Something else you can do to secure your iPhone lock screen is keep notifications enabled but just disable their previews. For example, you can keep getting notified when you get a text or email but turn off the message part. Anyone looking at your phone will see that you got a message but they won't know what it says.

This isn't a function of every iPhone app but some do include it as an option. What makes this different than the notification preview settings above is that the app itself is controlling the alerts, not your phone's settings.

For example, as you can see in this screenshot, the Signal app includes an option for showing only the name of the person texting you, or you can show no name or message but still include an alert that someone messaged you.

Settings and Notifications screens on the Signal app for iPhone

Change the Lock Screen Wallpaper

Are you really paranoid about what someone might find out about you by looking at your iPhone lock screen? Take down any personal information from the lock screen itself, such as a wallpaper that shows your face or a family photo.

Changing your iPhone wallpaper is easy. Just pick something not so identifying.