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iPhone Hidden Messages Let You Chat Secretly: How It Works

It’s pretty easy to save everything forever on your iPhone, but sometimes you don’t want your words to be saved forever in an email or text message. That’s one of the reasons why apps like Snapchatthat shows self-destructing text messagesthey have become popular.

weather iOS 16 adds the ability to send text messages that you want to spin again, it’s not exactly the same. However, a built-in iPhone app allows you to send temporary secret messages with a collaborator from iOS 10.

The iPhone app Note lets you collaborate with others on notes, whether they’re shopping lists or collections of dad jokes. Anyone who is part of a collaborative note can edit in real time, enabling hidden conversations. You could have an incredibly long personal conversation, without any lasting proof that it ever existed.

To know how to turn a note into a hidden conversation on iOS, here’s what you need to know.

First, create a note in the Notes app

On your iPhone, launch the Notes app and tap the button To compose at the bottom right to create a new note. Then write anything in the note to keep it or else it will be deleted automatically when you exit the note. You can also jump into an existing note, but it’s best to start over with a new one.

First, create a new note or go to an existing one.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Adjust your note’s sharing options to add collaborators

Once your note is up and ready to go, you can begin the process of adding someone else as a collaborator, which means they can read and edit whatever is in the note. To get started, touch the Plus button at the top right, and then press share note.

Now it’s time share options and make sure that can make changes option is selected under Permission. You must also disable 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 have finished configuring these settings.

Second, manage what your collaborators can do.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Add the friends you want to include and share the link

Then choose a method to share the note: you can send it via text message, email, social media, and more. If you swipe over the sharing options, you can also select copy linkwhich copies the link of the note to your clipboard and allows you to paste it wherever you want.

For this example, I will 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 access the note for. You can also touch the button 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.

Lastly, hit Copy Link to copy the note link to your clipboard and share it with your collaborator.

Notes app on iPhone

Next, add your collaborator(s).

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Send secret messages using Notes

The other person, on the receiving end, must now open the link in the note and accept the invitation. If they accept, they will be redirected to the Notes app and the collaborative note you just created.

To communicate, simply write something in the note, which the other person can see in real time, without you having to press send. They will also receive a notification every time the note is modified.

Each person on the note will have a corresponding color (just for a moment) so everyone else knows who wrote what. You can also swipe right from the center of the note to see the name of the person who wrote the message, as well as a timestamp of when the message was written and the corresponding colors.

Notes app on iPhone

Now you can secretly communicate with your friends or family.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

You can also touch the button share note (with the checkmark icon), go to Manage shared note and then turn on Highlight all changes. In this way, all messages will be permanently highlighted in their corresponding color, making it easier to read the conversation.

And if you want to keep your communications more discreet, delete your message or the other person’s message to cross it off the note. That way, your conversation is more like it would be on Snapchat, with ephemeral or short-lived messages that strangers can’t see if they snoop through your notes. You can do this with any text in the notes, as well as photos, videos, links, drawings, or any other attachments that you add to the note.

Permanently delete your secret chat

Not all secret conversations can go on forever, so it’s time to end them.

If you are the owner of the note and want to keep the note intact for everyone but prevent them from editing it, you can easily do that. In the top right corner, tap the See participants button and then press Manage shared note. To remove a participant, you can swipe left on their name and then tap Remove or you can touch your name and then touch RemoveAccess.

Notes app on iPhone

To end the note conversation, remove any collaborators or stop sharing the notes.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Also, you can touch the button stop sharing option, which will not only remove the participants from the note, but also remove the note from all their devices.

If you are not the owner of the note, you can simply delete the note from the Notes app.


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