Mobility

Disable notification content on Lollipop lock screen for better privacy

If you've found the Android Lollipop lock screen to be a security issue, Jack Wallen shows you how to regain control over sensitive data being displayed.

Lockscreen

Lollipop is a significant update. In fact, it is, without a doubt, the most massive update to the Android platform to date. If you happen to have a device that has updated to Lollipop, you know a lot has changed—much of it, under the hood. After using the release for a few weeks, I'm still finding new bits and pieces.

One such piece involves security, which is a hot button for everyone.

If you're using Lollipop, you've probably realized that a lot of content pops up on the lock screen. And even though you've probably set up a PIN, pattern, or password for your lock screen, all that content could be viewed as a security issue. Take, for instance, Figure A. Here you see a Facebook notification and email notifications.

Figure A

Figure A

The Lollipop lock screen on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.

In the Facebook notification, you get a short snippet of text. Should the wrong person send you the wrong text at the wrong time... and the wrong person peeks at your lock screen, your security could be at risk.

If you happen to be a user who takes security very seriously, you can avoid such a situation simply by curtailing what is shown on the Android lock screen. Here's how you do it.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap on Sound & notification
  3. Locate and tap When device is locked
  4. Select either Hide sensitive notification content or Don't show notifications at all (Figure B)

Figure B

Figure B

Disabling sensitive content on the lock screen.

Now, when notifications appear on your lock screen, the content of the notifications will be hidden (Figure C). You no longer have to worry about prying eyes seeing sensitive information.

Figure C

Figure C

Sensitive content disabled.

If you don't want to globally shut off notifications, you can do this on a per-app basis. With Lollipop, you should see (within Sound & notification) an entry called App notification. Tap that to reveal every installed app on the device. Say you want to only block sensitive Facebook notifications from the lock screen. Do the following:

  1. Tap Settings | Sound & notification | App notifications
  2. Locate and tap Facebook in the listing
  3. Tap the ON/OFF slider for Sensitive until it says ON (Figure D)

Figure D

Figure D

Disabling sensitive information from Facebook on the lock screen.

From within this same window, you can also set an app as a priority, so that all notifications from said app will remain at the top of the notification list.

Lollipop offers plenty of new features likely to please a wide variety of users—each feature with tweaks and options that can help you tune your device to perfectly fit your needs. If security is your thing, make sure to configure the notification screen to better pass your scrutiny with this easy tip.

Have you found a must-use feature in Lollipop? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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