iPhone Lock Screen Privacy and Security Tips

Keep your notifications private

The iPhone lock screen is a virtual billboard for app notifications, alerts, and messages. Some of this information could be personal, and you might not want the person standing next to you to see it. If you don't like the way the iPhone lock screen shows notifications, customize or hide the sensitive information that these notifications display.

These tips apply to iPhone devices running iOS 14, iOS 13, and iOS 12.

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—and not just the four-digit kind.

However, a strong password doesn't guard against someone looking over your shoulder or viewing your iPhone's lock screen as it sits on your desk. To keep your lock screen safe, 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 control which apps show lock screen notifications.

  1. Open the iPhone Settings app and tap Notifications.

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

  3. In the Alerts section, tap to clear the circle under Lock Screen to disable notifications from showing up on the lock screen. You can select Allow Notifications to disable all notifications for that app, but that also removes Banners and Notification Center pop-ups, which you might still want.

    iPhone settings with Notifications highlighted

    If you're using an older iOS version, tap 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. Having Siri available there requires security access, so you might want to shut off Siri so that it can't be instructed 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 and turn off the Allow Siri When Locked toggle switch.

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 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.

  3. Tap When Unlocked to make sure notification previews show up only after you unlock your phone. To disable Notification Center previews even when your phone is unlocked, select Never.

    iOS Settings with Show Previews options highlighted

Turn Off Message Previews Inside Apps

With some apps, you can keep notifications enabled but disable previews. For example, be notified when you get a text or mail but turn off the message part. Anyone looking at your phone sees only that you got a message, but they won't know what it says.

This isn't a function of every iPhone app, but some apps include it as an option. What makes this different from the Notification preview settings is that the app controls the alerts, not the phone settings.

For example, as shown below, the Signal app includes an option to show only the name of the person texting you, or you can show no name or message but include an alert that someone messaged you.

Security settings in an app for iPhone

Change the Lock Screen Wallpaper

When you don't want anyone to find out about you by looking at your iPhone lock screen, remove all personal information from the lock screen, such as a wallpaper that shows your face or a family photo. Changing your iPhone wallpaper is easy. Just choose something not so identifying.

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