iPhone X's Face ID Hides Notifications From Prying Eyes

Staff Writer
Updated

Face ID will do more than unlock your iPhone X when Apple's new smartphone ships next month. It will also keep someone's wandering eyes from peering at your lock screen notifications.

The feature, spotted by Phone Arena, taps into the iPhone X's True Depth camera. That camera detects if it's you or someone else looking at your phone. If it's not you, Face ID will be smart enough to minimize any notification alerts that come through.

Notifications will simply display with the app title and nothing more when the owner hasn’t unlocked their device. This is a significant change from previous versions of iOS. While older iPhones lacked Face ID, you still couldn’t change how lockscreen notifications displayed sensitive information unless you wanted to turn them off entirely.

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Messages and Mail were the lone exceptions to the rule. Users could opt to hide previews in notifications from those apps, but they weren’t this dynamic.

Anyone running iOS 11 on their iPhone or iPad can manage just how much of a notification appears on their lock screen (though not as dramatically as the iPhone X will handle things, apparently). Just go to Notifications in Settings, and select Show Previews. From there, if you select When Unlocked, your iPhone will only display a truncated notification.

In Messages, for example, once When Unlocked is enabled, you'll get a notification on your lock screen that shows you've gotten a text message and who from; however, the contents of the text will remain a mystery until you unlock your phone.

It’s a welcome change for longtime iPhone users who might enjoy the convenience of lockscreen notifications, but didn’t want to run the risk of strangers seeing their salacious content. And it's something that iPhone X users can look forward to as we get closer to that phone hitting the market.