Whether you’re planning a surprise event or worried about prying eyes reading your messages, you should protect access to your messaging apps. We show you a few different ways to make sure your communications stay private.
Set up a security key on your device
Obviously, to prevent anyone from accessing your data, you’ll want a security lock on your phone. Chances are you’ve set up an app that uses fingerprint, facial recognition, passcode, or pattern to make sure your device remains secure.
If not, it’s easy to enable the feature.
iPhone users should go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Enable Passcode.
People on Android devices need to open Settings > Security & Locationthen choose Lock screen options and choose which method to use.
Stop notifications from appearing on your Lock Screen
An easy way for others to read your texts is if they appear on your Lock screen as a notification. Thankfully, this is easy to disable on Android and iOS.
On your iPhone, open Setting app, go to Notifythen scroll through the list until you find Message. Click here and you’ll see a bunch of options.
Scroll down and tap Show preview then choose Never.
Now, when there’s a new text message, you’ll be notified with a blank alert simply ‘iMessage’ and not whose or what it is.
Depending on the messaging app you’re using on Android, the settings may vary, but most follow the same basic menu structures. We will base our example on Message The app comes with most Android versions.
Open Message then tap the three dots icon in the top right corner. From the drop-down menu that appears, select Settings > Notifications > Advancedthen tap On the lock screen right to buy.
This will open a window with three different options. Choose one of the two marked Hide sensitive content or Doesn’t show notifications at all.
The former will block the name and content of the text, but the latter is a more secure option.
Neither Android nor iOS has a built-in way to password protect the messaging app, so if this is the route you want to take it will require third-party software.
Sadly, iOS doesn’t allow locking third-party apps, so only Android users have this option.
These security apps typically launch apps but then cover them with a screen that asks for a password, PIN, pattern, or fingerprint to gain access. Some of the more popular options are Norton App Lock, AppLock, and LOCKit, most of which are free or ad-supported.
Once downloaded and installed, you enable the app, grant permission to block content, then select the apps you want to lock. We’ve seen reports that some can take a second or longer to bring up the block board, so be aware that an identified stalker may still be able to see through your text. However, combining all of the security measures above will provide you with a much higher level of protection than before.
For more ideas on how to protect your data and devices, read How to Password Protect iPhone & iPad Apps and Folders, How to Protect Yourself Online, and How to password protected zip file.
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