Every text you send and receive leaves a trail, and while that’s usually not a problem, there may be times when you want your conversations to be just a little more private. That’s one reason why apps like Snapchat and Signal have become so popular.
However, you don’t need to download any third-party app to have more secret conversations on your iPhone. Instead, you can use a built-in app that can be used to send temporary, hidden messages to your friends and family — and it’s been around since iOS 10.
The Notes app lets you collaborate on notes with others, be it grocery lists or collections of dad jokes. Anyone who is part of a collaborative note can edit it in real time — and here’s what you can use to have hidden conversations. You can have an incredibly long, personal conversation – without any lasting evidence that it ever existed.
Here’s what you need to know to learn how to turn a note into a hidden conversation on iOS. And while you’re at it, check out the hidden trackpad that lives in your iOS keyboard and this one seven hidden iOS 16 features you should know.
First, create a note in the Notes app
On your iPhone, launch the Notes app and tap the compose button at the bottom right to create a new note. Then type something in the note to keep it, otherwise it will be deleted automatically when you leave the note. You can also just go to an existing note, but it’s better to start over with a new one.
Adjust your note’s sharing options to add collaborators
Once your note is ready, you can start adding another person as a collaborator, meaning they can read and edit everything in the note. To get started, tap the More button in the top right corner, then press Share comment.
Now tap Sharing options and make sure the Can make changes option is selected under Permission. You should also turn off Anyone can add people in case you want to be the only person who can add collaborators to your note. Return to the last page when you are done configuring these settings.
Add friends you want to include and share the link
Then choose a method to share the note: you can send it via SMS, email, social media, and more. If you swipe the share options, you can also Copy linkwhich copies the note link to your clipboard and lets you paste it wherever you want.
For this example I choose the Copy link option to share the note.
At the top of the Copy Link page, enter the email address or phone number of the person you want to give access to the note. You can also tap the To add icon to search through your contacts. Adding a contact to the note is required — if you share the link without adding a contact, the other person won’t be able to see or edit the note, even with the link.
Finally, hit To copy Clutch to copy the note link to your clipboard and share it with your collaborator.
Send secret messages with Notes
The other person, on the receiving end, should now open the note link and accept the invitation. If they accept, they will be forwarded to the Notes app and to the collaboration note you just created.
To communicate, just type something in the note, which the other person can see in real time, without having to hit send. They will also receive a notification when the note is changed.
Each person in the note will have a corresponding color (just for a moment), so everyone knows who typed what. You can also swipe right from the center of the note to see the name of who wrote the message, as well as a timestamp for when the message was written and any associated colors.
You can also tap the Share comment button (with the check mark), go to Manage Shared Note and then turn on Mark all changes. That way, all messages remain permanently marked in the corresponding color, making the conversation easier to read.
And if you want to keep your communication calmer, delete your message or the other person’s message to get it out of the note. That way, your conversation will be more like Snapchat, with ephemeral or ephemeral messages that outsiders can’t see when they’re snooping through your notes. You can do this with any text in the notes, as well as photos, videos, links, drawings, or other attachments you add to the note.
Permanently delete your secret chat
Not all secret conversations can go on forever, so now is the time to put an end to them.
If you own the note and want to keep the note intact for everyone to see, but prevent them from editing it, you can easily do that. Tap the in the top right View participants button and then press Manage Shared Note. To remove a participant, swipe left on the name and then press remove or you can tap their name and then tap . to tap Remove access.
In addition, you can tap the stop sharing option, which not only removes participants from the note, but also removes the note from all their devices.
If you don’t own the note, you can simply delete the note from the Notes application.