Sometimes, you may temporarily lend your iPhone to a family member for them to Google something or make a call. Or, if you accidentally leave your iPhone unlocked and step away for a minute, a nosy friend or colleague might snoop through your device.
To maintain your privacy, let’s look at these simple tips you can follow to protect all kinds of personal content on your iPhone.
1. Add a Passcode
The first step is to ensure other people cannot go beyond your iPhone’s lock screen. If you’re not using Face ID or Touch ID, it’s best to add a passcode. To set up a passcode, go to the Settings app, select Face ID & Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode, and tap on Turn Passcode On.
We also recommend changing your iPhone’s passcode from time to time. This is because people may be able to guess your passcode if they frequently observe the way you tap on your iPhone.
2. Hide Your Personal Photos
Did you ever have someone stare at your iPhone screen while you scroll through your photo album to locate a picture you want to show them? It’s a little awkward to have another person silently judge all your recent selfies.
You can choose to temporarily delete those personal photos. But what if you forgot to restore them from your Recently Deleted folder? So, the safer way is to hide them in an album designated for this purpose. We have instructions on hiding photos and the Hidden photo album on your iPhone.
3. Hide a Purchased App
At some point, you have probably downloaded an app out of curiosity but would prefer not to have anyone know you were intrigued by its features. Although there is no way to remove an app from your account’s purchase history completely, you can at least hide them from your App Store’s Purchased list.
In the App Store, tap on your profile and select Purchased to access your list of downloaded apps. Swipe right on the app you want to hide and tap on the red Hide option.
You can find your hidden purchase by heading over to Settings > Apple ID > Media & Purchases > View Account. Once you authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID, scroll to the bottom and tap on Hidden Purchases. Then, tap Unhide to restore the app to your purchase history.
4. Remove an App From Your iPhone’s Home Screen
If it’s an app you want to use but don’t want to have it publicly visible, you can remove it from your iPhone’s home screen without uninstalling it.
On your Home screen, long-press on the app you want to hide. Tap Remove App. Choose Remove from Home Screen. You can find your removed app in the App Library, which you can access by swiping left on your last Home screen page.
5. Don’t Show Notifications or Previews on Your Lock Screen
Your iPhone’s notifications reveal much of your activity. For example, if you don’t want a gossipy co-worker to notice you’re communicating with job recruiters, hiding the app’s notification alerts is an easy way to make your correspondence more private.
Go to Settings > Notifications. Under the Notification Style section, tap on an app you want to change the settings for and uncheck the alert for Lock Screen.
If you only want to hide the content of the notification, you can opt to turn off previews instead. Follow the same steps to select your app. Then, set Show Previews to Never.
Learn more about notifications with our guide on the different notification types on your iPhone.
6. Filter Unknown Senders in the Messages App
At the moment, you can completely hide message threads like photos on your iPhone. But you can make your text conversations less visible to others by filtering unknown senders.
As its name suggests, this setting is used to filter out messages from people not in your contacts. But it’s also helpful if you’re having a conversation with someone and don’t want other people spotting their incoming text on your messages list.
First, delete the contact from your contact list. Then, go to Settings and tap Messages. Toggle on Filter Unknown Senders. Their messages will be filtered into the Unknown Senders list.
Each time before you leave the Messages app, delete their text and make sure you’re on the Known Senders page. This way, any new incoming messages won’t be included in your usual messages list even if someone taps into the app.
7. Delete Recent Calls
Your list of recent calls is a place where overly curious friends can pry on who you’ve been having long conversations with and how frequently those calls take place. To avoid this, you can clear specific recent calls you’ve had.
Go to the Phone app and tap the Recents tab. Swipe left on the recent contact and tap Delete to remove it from the list.
8. Lock Your Notes With a Password
Whether you use your Notes app to journal or draft the next chapter of your novel, you can ensure that no one can view the content (except for the title) even if they somehow go into the app.
The password for the Notes app is a different one from your iPhone’s passcode. When setting up the password, you can also choose to enable Face ID or Touch ID with it for more security. For more details, you can refer to our guide on how to lock notes on your iPhone.
9. Use Private Browsing in Safari
The predictive search and autocomplete function of your Safari’s search bar is very convenient—but sometimes too convenient. Just typing one letter would inevitably reveal any search history and visited websites that begin with that letter.
To prevent this, you can use Private Browsing Mode. In Safari, press the Tabs button in the bottom-right corner and tap on Start Page. Now, select Private and then tap on the + icon to open a new private tab.
10. Turn Off Siri Suggestions
Based on your iPhone usage habits, Siri provides ideas on what you can do on your device, such as sending a message to a recent contact or heading to an app you often use. Again, this indicates your most recent activities easily. To turn off Siri Suggestions, go to Settings > Siri & Search and toggle everything off under the Suggestions From Apple section.
Maintain Your Privacy on Your iPhone
Your iPhone is your personal property, and your private content should remain private as it is. However, the reality is that there’ll always be one or two individuals in your circle who can’t help but peek at other people’s screens.
Although there’s no need to make your iPhone an impenetrable fortress at the expense of your convenience, it’s important to know how you can gain greater control over the content shown on your iPhone. This way, you can enjoy better privacy on your device.