Tricks for Keeping Your Text Message Notifications Private

Follow these best practices to hide your data from spying eyes

Consider these best practices to keep your data hidden. Alternatively, set up your device so that the lock screen doesn't reveal your text messages and notifications.

Person checking text messages on smartphone
Tim Robberts / Getty Images

The Face-Down Maneuver

This is the oldest trick in the book: Turn your phone over so that no one can see your notifications. The drawback is that it's not exactly subtle. Doing so typically raises suspicion among companions about what you're trying to hide. Furthermore, you won't see the notifications, which may defeat the purpose.

Stealth Texting (No Sound)

You can always turn off the text notification sound and use the vibrate setting instead. In some situations, however, the vibration setting may be as apparent as the sound.

Turn off the Option

One of the best ways to keep prying eyes from seeing your texts is to turn off the lock screen notification display. Instead of seeing a compromising message, onlookers only see something like, "New text message received."

You are still aware that you have a text, but no one casually looking at your phone can see its contents without unlocking the device. This also prevents image previews from displaying.

How to Hide Lock Screen Notifications on an iPhone

Follow these steps to hide text messages from your lock screen on an iPhone.

  1. Open the Settings app from the home screen.

  2. Select Notifications > Show Previews.

    iOS Notifications Show Previews
  3. Choose between three options: Always, When Unlocked, and Never.

How to Hide Lock Screen Notifications on an Android

Follow these steps to hide text messages from your lock screen on an Android.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Android device.

  2. Choose Apps & notifications > Notifications.

  3. Under the Lock Screen setting, choose Notifications on lock screen or On lock screen.

  4. Select Don't show notifications.

Other Android Messaging Apps

Some Android devices featuring the stock Android messaging app may block lock screen notifications by default. If all you see is that you have a New Message but the sender isn't shown, your messaging app may be configured to conceal the contents on the lock screen.

If you use a different app for messaging, you may need to check if you can turn off lock screen notifications. Some apps allow this functionality, and some don't. Check the messaging app's settings for details.

Other Privacy Considerations

Another way to keep snoopers out of your phone is to set a passcode. Ideally, create a strong passcode that includes biometric-based authentication, such as Apple Touch ID or the Android fingerprint reader. Another authentication option is Android trusted devices, which use your phone's proximity to a trusted Bluetooth device to verify access to it.

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