Do you want to make sure your messages stay hidden while you allow others to use your iPhone or iPad? If so, you are in luck. Screen Time offers an easy way to lock apps, and you can use it to block access to the stock Messages app.
Apple introduced Screen Time with iOS 12 to help iOS users monitor their smartphone usage. It also provides lots of parental control tools to limit the features that children and other family members can access. App Limits is one of the tools that Screen Time offers, and can be used to limit how long you use apps each day. It basically can also be used to lock certain apps indirectly if you have privacy concerns.
Interested in trying this handy feature to lock the Messages app on your device? In this article, we will discuss exactly how you can hide Messages on iPhone & iPad using Screen Time.
How to Hide Messages on iPhone & iPad
Because 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 this procedure. Assuming you are using a modern release, follow these steps to hide the Messages app:
- Open “Settings” on your iPhone or iPad. Scroll down and tap “Screen Duration”.
- If you haven’t used Screen Time before, follow the on-screen instructions to quickly set it up. Once you are in the Screen Time menu, scroll down and tap “Use Screen Time Code”. Type in the passcode of your choice and set it correctly before you continue to the next step.
- Now, select “Always Allowed” in the Screen Time menu.
- Here, you’ll see the Messages app in the list of allowed apps by default. Tap the “-” icon to remove it from the list.
- You will be asked to confirm your action. Tap “Delete”.
- Next, go back to the Screen Time menu and tap on “App Limits”.
- Now, tap on “Increase Border” as shown in the image below.
- Here, you can find the Messaging application under the “Social Networks” category. Select “Messages” and tap “Next”.
- In this menu, you can select a daily usage limit before Screen Time locks you. Since you want to use it as an app key, we will choose the minimum value which is 1 minute. Also make sure the switch for “Block at End of Limit” is activated. If you don’t see this option, it means that you haven’t added a passcode to Screen Time. Quick fix it. When done, tap “Add”.
- There she is. Now you must use the Messaging application only 1 minute before being locked as shown below.
- Now, if you tap on the greyed out Messages app, you’ll have the option to “Request More Time”, but you’ll need to type in your Screen Time passcode to proceed further.
This is it. 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 the Messages app, say before letting your child play games on the iPhone or iPad, or before handing the device over to someone else, just use the Messages app for one minute to set the lock, and it will be passcode protected.
While a passcode app lock feature like Android is something iOS users have been asking for for a while now, use Screen Time to lock your important apps as closely as possible, for now. It’s always possible that these kinds of features will evolve and change too, as iPadOS and iOS line up with new features and capabilities.
You can also use the same technique to lock other social networking apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. Screen Time can also be used for many other things, such as limiting your kids’ smartphone usage by setting communication limits, blocking app installs, in-app purchases, and more.