How to hide the content of notifications on Android

Every time you receive a notification from an Android app, you see the name and icon of the app and a preview of its contents. When it comes to messages, you also see who sent you the message, and at least part of it can be read and understood with ease. For example, you see the name of the people sending you messages on WhatsApp, Messenger, Messages, and other apps, as well as a preview of their content. Some of that content may be important for your privacy, and you might not want people around you to see it. To fix this issue, you can set your Android smartphone to hide the content of the notifications displayed on your Lock screen until you unlock your smartphone. Here’s how it is done:

NOTE: For this tutorial, we used a Huawei P30 smartphone, running Android 10. The procedures are similar on all Android-powered devices, even though they might not be identical. On some Android smartphones, like those from Nokia, the options shown in this tutorial are missing, and our guide doesn’t work. If you do not know your Android version, read How to check the Android version on your smartphone or tablet.

Step 1. Access the Notification settings on your Android smartphone

The first step to hiding the content of notifications is to open the Settings on your Android smartphone. Then, scroll down and tap on the App & notifications or Notifications section.

Open Settings and go to Notifications

Android shows you the settings that are related to notifications, as well as all the apps for which you can personalize notifications.

Step 2. Set Android to show notifications but hide their content

If you want to hide the content of all the notifications displayed on the Lock screen, tap “Lock screen notifications.”

Tap Lock screen notifications

By default, Android sets your notifications to Show, so they are displayed fully on your Lock screen. Choose “Show but hide contents.”

Choose Show but hide contents

In theory, this setting should get applied instantly for all the Android apps on your smartphone. From now on, the notifications displayed on your Lock screen should show the name of the app sending each notification, how long ago each notification was sent, and a line that says: “Contents hidden.”

Unfortunately, not all Android apps respect this setting, especially not those that are commonly used for messaging and chatting with others: WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, etc. That’s why it may be necessary to manually configure the apps for which you want to hide the contents of notifications. Continue reading to see how.

TIP: If you want to get rid of spam notifications, read: How do I stop spam notifications on Android? (Google Chrome and other browsers).

Step 3. Set Android apps like WhatsApp or Messenger to hide the content of their notifications

In the Notifications screen, you see a long list of all the Android apps for which you can configure their notifications. Some apps like WhatsApp or Messenger might ignore the setting from the previous step. To get them to behave, scroll down to their app name, and tap on it.

We wanted to customize WhatsApp so we tapped on it. You then see lots of notification types: call notifications, group notifications, message notifications, etc. Tap on the notification type that interests you. We chose Message notifications because we want to hide the content of the messages we receive on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp notifications

Then, tap on “Lock screen notifications” and choose “Show but hide contents.”

Show WhatsApp notifications, but hide their contents

Go back to the other notification types and modify them the same way.

Unfortunately, different apps show different sets of options. To help you understand the general approach to take, we have another example: Facebook’s Messenger app. We tapped on Messenger in the Notifications screen. As you can see below, its notifications are split differently. We pressed on “Chats and calls” because we wanted to hide the content of the chat messages received on Messenger.

Facebook’s Messenger notifications settings

Then, tap on “Lock screen notifications” and choose “Show but hide contents.”

Show Messenger notifications, but hide their content

Repeat this procedure for all the types of notifications that interest you. You might think that you are done, but Messenger has further related settings buried at the bottom of the Notifications screen. Scroll down and tap on More settings.

Access More settings

Now you see other notification settings. Turn off Notification previews, so that Facebook’s Messenger no longer shows the name and message in its notifications.

Disable Messenger Notification previews

Now you should be done, and Messenger should stop showing the content of notifications.

REMEMBER: The approach you should follow is similar to what we have shown for WhatsApp and Messenger. The notifications options you get might be different, but the general approach should work for other messaging apps too (Skype, LinkedIn, Telegram, Viber, and so on).

Did you manage to hide the content of notifications on your Android smartphone?

The steps shown in this tutorial should work on most smartphones with Android 10. If they don’t, one last resort is to restart your smartphone to make sure that your new notification settings are applied. One thing we noticed is that not all smartphone manufacturers allow notifications to be configured this way, and on some devices, the Notification settings are missing altogether. Before you close this tutorial, tell us if it worked for you, what smartphone you have, and which Android version is installed.