How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad

Jul 31, 2020 - 3 Comments

How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad

Do you want to make sure your messages remain hidden when you’re letting someone else use your iPhone or iPad? If so, you’re in luck. Screen Time offers a convenient way to lock apps, and you can use it to block access to the stock Messages app.

Apple introduced Screen Time alongside iOS 12 to help iOS users keep a check on their smartphone usage. It also provides a lot of parental control tools to limit the features that children and other family members are able to access. App Limits is one of the tools that Screen Time has to offer, and it can be used to restrict how long you use an app on a daily basis. This can essentially be also used to indirectly lock certain apps if you have privacy concerns.

Interested in trying out this handy feature to lock the Messages app on your device? In this article, we’ll be discussing exactly how you can hide Messages on both the iPhone & iPad using Screen Time.

How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad

Since Screen Time is a fairly new feature, you need to make sure your device is running a modern version of iOS or iPadOS before you try out this procedure. Assuming you’re on a modern release, follow these steps to hide the Messages app:

  1. Head over to “Settings” on your iPhone or iPad. Scroll down and tap on “Screen Time”.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  2. If you haven’t used Screen Time before, follow the on-screen instructions to quickly set it up. Once you’re in the Screen Time menu, scroll down and tap on “Use Screen Time Passcode”. Type in your preferred passcode and set it up properly before you proceed to the next step.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  3. Now, select “Always Allowed” in the Screen Time menu.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  4. Here, you’ll notice the Messages app in the list of always allowed apps by default. Tap on the “-” icon to remove it from the list.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  5. You’ll be prompted to confirm your action. Tap on “Remove”.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  6. Next, head back to the Screen Time menu and tap on “App Limits”.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  7. Now, tap on “Add Limit” as shown in the screenshot below.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  8. Here, you’ll be able to find the Messages app under the “Social Networking” category. Select “Messages” and tap on “Next”.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  9. In this menu, you’ll be able to choose the daily usage limit before Screen Time locks you out. Since you want to use it as an app lock, we’ll choose the minimum value which is 1 minute. Also make sure the toggle for “Block at End of Limit” is enabled. If you don’t see this option, it means you haven’t added a passcode to Screen Time yet. Go fix it. When you’re done, tap on “Add”.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  10. That’s it. Now you need to use the Messages app for just 1 minute before it locks you out as shown below.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
  11. Now, if you tap on the greyed out Messages app, you’ll have the option to “Ask for More Time”, but you’ll need to type in your Screen Time passcode to proceed any further.

    How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad

There you go. Now you’ve learned how to take advantage of Screen Time to hide Messages on your iPhone and iPad.

The next time you want to lock down the Messages app, say before letting your kids play games on your iPhone or iPad, or before handing the device to someone else, just use the Messages app for one minute to put the lock in place, and it’ll be passcode protected.

Although a passcode app lock feature like Android is something iOS users have been requesting for a while now, using Screen Time to lock your important apps is as close as you can get, for the time being anyway. It’s always possible that these sort of features will evolve and change down the road too, as iPadOS and iOS march along with new features and capabilities.

You can use the same technique to lock other social networking apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. too. Screen Time can be also used for many other things, like to restrict your children’s smartphone usage by setting communication limits, blocking app installations, in-app purchases, and more.

We hope you managed to lock the Messages app using Screen Time on your iOS device without any issues. What others apps do you lock using this feature? Do you think Apple should just add an app lock option instead? Do let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section down below.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Miriam says:

    I want to hide I specific message I would like to do hidden like in pictures. And passcode in hidden pictures be different from getting into iPad

  2. Annie says:

    Brilliant. Can I have this option? My iphone 5s has iOs 12.4 version.

  3. Gabriel Cervo says:

    I can’t remove Messages from “Always Allowed” in Screen Time. After I do that, they reappear again after closing Settings. The default apps: “Phone”, “Messages”, “FaceTime, “Maps” always reappear.

    Works for all apps but messages.

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