Text messaging the most popular form of communication in recent years with the sending of quick messages to anyone at any time, it’s easy to see why so many prefer texting over phone calls. However, some privacy concerns text messaging is aware of.
Nature of text messages
Unlike phone calls which disappear after the conversation ends, text messages tend to stick around. They get stored on your phone, on the recipient’s phone, and on the servers of your cell phone carrier. Unless you or the recipient actively deletes message threads, your conversations can remain available long after you’ve forgotten about them.
This means that anyone who gets access to your phone or your cloud backups could potentially read your private conversations. Some messaging apps like WhatsApp even store your messages on their servers in encrypted form, protected by your account password. If someone hacks your messaging app account, they may be able to read your conversations. In addition, your cell phone carrier likely stores records of who you text and when. This data could potentially be accessed by hackers or government agencies how to private message? While authorities generally need a warrant to access message content, metadata like who and when you text may be easier for them to obtain.
Screenshot ting conversations
Another privacy concern with texting is the ease of screenshot ting conversations. If you’re texting sensitive information to someone, they can screenshot your messages and then share them with others. You lose control of the information as soon as you hit send. Think twice before texting anything you wouldn’t want to be shared or leaked publicly. Flirty texts between partners can be betrayed, confidential business communications can be exposed, and private conversations can end up on social media.
Many people store their text messages in the cloud, allowing them to sync message histories across devices. Apple users can sync texts through iCloud, while Android users sync through Google Drive. This means Apple, Google, and any hackers that infiltrate their servers could potentially access your messages. In addition, if you ever send your phone in for repairs, store employees may be able to access your messages. Some repair techs have been caught snooping through private photos and conversations on customers’ phones.
Protecting your texts
So how can you keep your text conversations more private given these risks? Here are some tips:
- Use ephemeral messaging features built into apps like Snapchat and Confide that allow messages to disappear after being read.
- Enable disappearing messages in WhatsApp and other messaging apps to auto-delete older texts after some time.
- Use encrypted messaging apps like Signal and WhatsApp that protect messages with end-to-end encryption. This prevents third parties like the app or cell provider from accessing message content.
- Turn off iCloud syncing and Google Drive backups to keep texts only on your physical device. Just know you’ll lose your message history if you lose your phone.
- Use a service like PrivNote that allows you to set an expiration time for text and photos after which the link is disabled. The recipient can’t take screenshots or copy/paste from your private note.
- Password-protect apps and encrypt your smartphone storage to prevent other people from being able to read your texts if they get access to your device.
- Be cautious about texting very sensitive info. A phone call or in-person chat may be better for discussing confidential topics.
- Delete messages and whole conversation threads you no longer need to reduce the historical record of your communications.