Q: Is there a way to stop incoming text messages from appearing right on the iPhone’s screen as soon as they come in? I get personal messages that I would rather stay unseen until I’m ready to review them.
A: The iPhone doesn’t provide a specific option to control the normal display of pop-up messages, but you can prevent the SMS preview from appearing when your iPhone is locked with your passcode options turned on.
To do this, go into the your iPhone Settings application, and choose General, Passcode Lock. If you haven’t already specified a passcode, you will be prompted to enter a new one, and then to re-enter it for confirmation.
On this screen, you can simply set “Show SMS Preview” to OFF.
The “Require Passcode” field will determine how long the iPhone must remain idle before it will require you to enter a passcode. You can set this to Immediately if you want the iPhone to lock as soon as you press the Sleep button, or set a longer interval, up to a maximum of 4 hours.
Once the Show SMS Preview option is turned OFF, the iPhone will suppress SMS previews whenever it’s on the main standby screen regardless of whether it’s actually reached the passcode lock interval, so there’s no need to set this interval lower than you might otherwise find necessary. You will still receive pop-up notifications of new text messages, but these will simply indicate the name of the sender followed by the words “Text Message” rather than showing a preview of the message content.
Note that turning OFF the passcode lock feature entirely will also disable the suppression of SMS preview messages. If you want to suppress SMS previews on the main standby screen, you must also use a passcode on your iPhone, although you can set it to only require the passcode after it has been unattended for four hours (the maximum setting).