By default, iPhone will show the world your SMS and iMessages on the lock screen, regardless of whether your device has a Touch ID or password. It doesn’t really matter to most people, so they don’t change the setting.
However, this can actually be a big privacy or security issue. First, you never know what text you will receive and who can see it. With the default settings, anyone within your phone’s line of sight can read messages as they arrive because your phone will glow.
If they can physically touch the phone, they can not only read messages but also reply to them from the lock screen. This is true even if you have Touch ID or password enabled.
From a security point of view, this can be dangerous for those with two-factor authentication enabled on their websites. Many websites simply send you a code in a text message, which can then be easily viewed by anyone in your immediate vicinity.
Fortunately, Apple has included many different options in settings to control your privacy. In this article, I’ll show you how to protect text messages so that only you can see them.
Note that none of the settings below will help unless you enable Touch ID or Passcode. Even if you set up your phone so that nothing appears on the lock screen, someone can easily swipe their finger across the screen to unlock your phone and read whatever they want.
The first setting you can change is preview, which will probably be enough for most people. Go to Settings, then Notifications and click Messages.
Scroll down and you will see the Show Preview option. Tap the small toggle button so it is no longer green.
Now when you receive an SMS or iMessage from someone, you will only see that person’s name, not the message. Instead of a message, you’ll see just the default text, like iMessage.
Please note that when you hide the preview, you can no longer reply to the message from the lock screen, even if this option is enabled. This makes sense, because how do you reply to a message you don’t see?
Show on lock screen
For those who want more privacy and security, you can also go back to Notifications – Messages and turn off a couple more items.
The next step is to turn off the Show on Lock Screen option. When you receive a message now, not even a notification will be displayed on the lock screen. Instead, the phone will either play the text message or vibrate if it is on.
When you unlock your phone, a banner with new messages will appear at the top. You can also still see how many new messages have arrived thanks to the app icon.
Maximum security level is to disable the app icon icon, disable the notification sound, and disable messages in the notification center. If you do this, you won’t even know when you received a new message. You will have to manually open the Messages app to see new messages. This is probably a bit too much, even if you want more privacy and security.
A good balance is to disable preview and enable password. This way, you will still know when new messages arrive, but you will only be able to see them after unlocking your phone.
Forward text messages
You also need to be careful about how you use another “useful” feature in iOS called text message forwarding, which can open your messages to unwanted viewers.
If you go to Settings, then Messages, you will see this parameter in the list under iMessage. If you enable it, you can allow other devices to send and receive text messages as long as those devices are signed in to the same iMessage account. Here I have one device turned on, which is my Macbook Pro.
I’m only mentioning this because most people who have an iPhone , there are also computers Mac, iPad, iPod Touch, iMac, etc. devices are also password protected at least.