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A Comprehensive Guide On How To Hide And Archive Text Messages On iPhone

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Jul 12, 2024 • Filed to: Backup & Restore Data • Proven solutions

We all have those personal or sensitive text conversations that we want to keep private on our iPhones. Whether it's a heart-to-heart chat with a loved one or some juicy gossip with a friend, sometimes we just need to make sure prying eyes can't access those messages.

Our phones contain so much personal information and data. Even if you have a sturdy passcode or biometric lock set up, there's always a chance someone could get access when you need to look. You may be worried about a snooping family member or roommate, or you don't want your private texts exposed if you ever lose your phone or have to let someone borrow it.

The good news is that Apple has built some handy privacy features into your iPhone's Messages app. And there are also some third-party app solutions and clever little tricks you can use to hide texts on your iphone.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the easiest and most effective methods how to hide text messages on an iPhone without having to permanently delete them.

Part 1: Send Invisible Ink Messages

One of the easiest and most clever ways to hide texts on your iPhone is by using the built-in "invisible ink" feature in the Messages app. This cool effect keeps the contents of your messages blurred and hidden until you physically swipe over the text bubble to reveal what it says.

Even better, this invisible ink cloak of secrecy extends to both parties in the conversation as long as you're messaging another iPhone user. The hidden text on your iphone won't be visible on either of your devices until swiped over.

To send an invisible ink text, just follow these simple steps:

Step 1:Open up a Message conversation, either new or existing

Step 2:Type out your super-secret text message

Step 3:Instead of just tapping the Send button, press and hold it down

Step 4:Select "Invisible Ink" from the optional effects that pop up

invisible ink message on iphone

Step 5:Tap the Send button one more time

That's it! Your message will appear blurred out with animated "static" covering it, both on your iPhone and the recipient's device. To reveal and read the message, you or the other person just needs to swipe a finger over the text bubble to make it visible for a few seconds before it re-hides itself.

Part 2: Back Up Sensitive Texts Securely

Maybe invisible ink mode isn't enough security for your most private text conversations, and you want to hide text messages off your iPhone's Messages app. In that case, you can back up individual messages or entire conversations to a secure password-protected notes file.

To do this, you'll first copy or screenshot any texts you want to save and remove from Messages. Then just:

Step 1:Open the Notes app and start a new note

Step 2:Paste in the copied text or insert your screenshot(s)

paste content on notes image

Step 3: In Settings,> Notes set up a password specifically for the Notes app

Step 4: Now you'll need to enter that password to access any of your notes

password protected notes page

Once your texts are safely backed up to a password-protected note, you can delete that message thread or conversation in the Messages app without losing it forever. Just be sure to also clear any screenshots of the texts from your Photos app if you went that route.

This keeps your private text convos away from prying eyes but still backed up just in case you need to refer back to them later on. A good middle ground between privacy and preserving your conversations!

Part 3: Filter Unknown Senders

While archiving or deleting entire conversations may work for some, maybe you just want a quick way to hide incoming texts from specific people. Well, you're in luck because iOS has a handy built-in filter for that too.

You can set it to automatically filter any incoming messages from contacts you don't have saved in your phone as "Unknown Senders." That way any texts from that secret lover or unsaved friend's number won't show up in your main messaging inbox for anyone to see at a glance.

Here's how to enable Unknown Senders filtering:

Step 1:Go to Settings > Messages

Step 2:Scroll down and toggle on "Filter Unknown Senders"

filter messages image on iphone

Step 3:In the Messages app itself, go to Filters (top left) and select "Known Senders"

Step 4:Now only saved contacts will show in your main message list

Any incoming texts from unsaved numbers you want to keep private will be filtered out. To view them, just go back to the Filters section and choose "Unknown Senders" or "All Messages". You can keep those private conversations separated until you want to view them.

Part 4: Use Screen Time Limits

Another effective way to hide texts on iPhone is by setting limits through iOS's built-in Screen Time feature. This lets you basically "lock" certain apps or entire app categories so they can't be opened without entering your Screen Time passcode. To lock down Messages using Screen Time:

Step 1:Go to Settings > Screen Time and turn it on

screen time image on iphone

Step 2:Tap “App Limits” and toggle it on

Step 3:Select "Add Limit" and choose the category that includes Messages (like Social)

Step 4:Set the allowed time limit (like 1 minute per day)

Step 5:Create a Screen Time passcode when prompted

Now you can only access Messages for that brief daily limit before it locks you out, needing the Screen Time passcode to reopen. As long as you don't share that code, your message privacy is secure!

Part 5: Disable Message Previews

When your iPhone is locked, does it currently show previews of incoming text messages on the lock screen or in notifications? If so, that's a potential privacy leak you may want to plug.

Luckily, it's easy to disable these message previews on your lock screen and in notifications from showing any sensitive text:

Step 1:Go to Settings > Notifications > Messages

message settings image on iphone

Step 2:Scroll down to the “Show Previews” section

Step 3:Change the setting to “When unlocked” or “Never”

show preview options on iphone

That's it! Now when your phone is locked, any new messages won't show their contents at all in notifications or previews. Just generic alerts that "You have a new message" from the sender with no text preview visible.

Part 6: Mute Message Notifications

Building on that last method, you can also hide text messages on iphone by muting notifications entirely for certain conversations or contacts on a case-by-case basis. That way those private message threads won't bug you with sounds, vibrations or banners while keeping your other message notifications active.

To mute a conversation in the Messages app, just:

Step 1:Swipe left on the conversation

Step 2:Tap the gray Mute button (looks like a bell with a line through it)

mute notification image on iphone

Easy! You can also long-press on a conversation, then tap the Mute button to toggle it on or off. Any new messages in that thread won't make a peep or light up your screen until you unmute it.

This muting option is great for sensitive one-on-one chats you want to keep quiet and out of the limelight. But what if you want to take it a step further?

Part 7: Set Auto-Lock For Privacy

This one is a super simple privacy tip that's easy to overlook to hide text messages on an iphone - setting your iPhone to automatically lock its screen after a short period of inactivity. That way, if you ever leave your phone unattended, it will quickly lock itself to prevent someone from snooping through your messages or apps. To set this up:

Step 1:Go to Settings > Display & Brightness

Step 2:Tap on "Auto-Lock"

Step 3:Select the shortest timeframe you're comfortable with, like 30 seconds or 1 minute

auto lock image on iphone

Now your iPhone will automatically lock its screen and require your passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID to unlock anytime it's left idle for that brief period after you last touched it. No more leaving your private messages and other sensitive info exposed!

You can take this basic security practice a step further by also setting your iPhone to require a passcode or biometric immediately when the screen wakes from the lock screen. That way there's no opportunity at all for a sneaky peek before entering your credentials.

These simple lock screen habits create an extra layer of protection around your messages and other private phone content and in turn allow you to hide text messages on your iphone. Every little bit of added security helps keep prying eyes away!

Part 8. Bonus Pro Tip: Using Dr.Fone for the Ultimate iPhone Backup

All of the methods we covered can help selectively hide, archive, or back up your private iPhone messages. But what if you want a more comprehensive backup solution that quickly mirrors your entire device - messages, documents, contacts, photos, and all?

Well, then you need an all-in-one iPhone backup software like Wondershare Dr.Fone. This complete toolkit removes the hassle of manually backing up your crucial iPhone data to a PC or Mac. With just a few clicks, you can create a secure encrypted backup of your entire device that's easily browsable and restorable later.

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Here's a quick rundown of how Dr.Fone can securely back up and restore your private text messages and any other iPhone data:

Backup iPhone Messages to Computer

Step 1: Connect your iPhone to your computer and launch Dr.Fone. Select the “My Backup” module, then choose to back up text messages and other data.

dr.fone backup homepage

Step 2: The backup process will mirror your messages and other selected data to your computer.

backup process complete image on dr.fone

Restore iPhone from Dr.Fone Backup

Step 1: Go to the Dr.Fone "View Backups" section and select your backup file.

my backup preview image on dr.fone

Step 2: Preview and select the messages or other data types you want to restore

view of selected data on dr.fone

Step 3: Choose to restore the selected data directly back to your iPhone

restoration complete process on dr.fone

It's an incredibly easy way to archive sensitive messages and your entire iPhone for total privacy and security with just a few clicks. Dr.Fone even lets you restore that backup seamlessly to a brand-new iPhone if needed.


In today's world of ubiquitous smartphones and endless chats, it's critical to have tools to protect your most intimate conversations and personal data from falling into the wrong hands. Whether you use invisible ink for quick privacy or robust backup solutions like Wondershare Dr.Fone to hide texts on your iPhone, taking steps to safeguard your sensitive mobile messages gives you invaluable peace of mind.

safe Downloadsafe & secure

Daisy Raines

staff Editor

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