Locked Notification Center

How to prevent others from seeing your Notification center when your phone is locked

Personally I've been loving the new Notification center in Windows Phone 8.1. The other day I joked about the Windows Phone dark ages where I’d hear an alert on my phone and would have to search the various Live tiles on my Start screen for which app wanted my attention. Missing that initial toast notification meant you’d need to put in some work to find out what’s going on. The Notification center in Windows Phone 8.1 changes all that of course. Here’s a quick tip on how to prevent others from seeing your Notification center when your phone is locked. A lot of you have been asking, so here’s the solution.  

It’s so simple, but something you might have overlooked. There’s one little toggle to turn off if you want to keep your Notification center away from prying eyes.

Here’s how to keep your Notification center private when your phone is locked. Just go to settings > notifications + actions > and deselect ‘show notifications in action center when my phone is locked’.

That’s seriously it. Now anytime someone tries to swipe down your Notification center on a locked phone they’ll only see the Action center where you have those quick-access toggles.

Simple? Yes, very simple, but we’ve been having a few of you complain about this perceived oversight by Microsoft. It’s there and probably should be the default for locked phones. Either way, let us know if this helps you out.

Don’t forget to share any other little ‘tips’ you’ve been finding while playing around in Windows Phone 8.1.

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Reader comments

How to prevent others from seeing your Notification center when your phone is locked



That's what turning off banners helps with. No need for dirty talk to pop up when the kids are playing games.

Or when we are demoing Windows Phone....I've had that happen in the past and one of the first things I did was disable the Messaging banner.

Am I the only one that is wondering how some people didn't see this option? After all it is right there when you open the notifications settings. Wow 

I would think it's because we expect things to be so hard or hidden.


Remember the old rule:    KISS

I actually want longer banners for ESPN. 

Reports stating 5x all star has just announced....

And clicking on the banner takes me to a random page in the ESPN app. :/

Anyone having apps just closing for no reason??
I'm in the middle of a web page or game and then it just disappears and it's not on my multitasking section -
Or it doesn't launch from the notification center. weird...

Yeah sorry about that. The girlfriend already has access to my password so she already has access to the notification center - I need to be more clever than that

i have this issue i also have an issue that as im doing something like i may be sending a text message or playing a game or any other app and when the app closes my camera comes on and when you click the back button everything else closed out and the camera opened

I actually did this, and for some reason my phone would stay locked. I'd have to hold the camera button to wake the phone, once I switched it back. It wouldn't do it anymore. But honestly it still happens sometimes. ~1520

WP dark ages... That's pretty much all WP users right now. Bold statement. Based on the comments and feedback for 8.1 sound full of bugs: battery issues, crashes, ...
Hope MS will get the final release right. Simply can't afford not to. In the meantime I will stay in the dark age.

My battery life has been amazing, and it just keeps getting better. One charge lasts me all the way until bedtime, I love it. I haven't noticed any huge bugs myself. In fact, I think 8.1 is LESS buggy than 8.0.

I don't understand why people complain about battery performance, mine got better. I suspect heavy usage by most people while trying to check the new features. The only bug I have seen was non responsive lock screen which has happened only once and I just had to restart phone.

Most people think we don't have a notification center so I won't need to use this lol ... Also are people that nosey?

It comes with the generation. You can tell more about someone from there phone than you can most other ways (seriously, your whole life is on your phone in one way or another). Plus, when you got a cool phone, people are gonna want to look at it.

No it doesn't come with the generation. If I've got someone's nexus I'm not gonna go look through their notification shade or their browsing history.

Not sure whether it's controlled by the OS or the app itself has to enable that feature in order for the OS to control, either way i was kinda surprised that Microsoft left out that feature for the in built messages app though due to the new notification settings, toast notifications for SMSes can now be disabled but not the message preview in toasts

Settings: Notifications+Actions: Turn notifications on or of ... choose whether to see banners at top of screen. From there select the app and select whether you want the banner to pop up for that app.

+1020, and, no, not banners. Previews. It should have a medium option to still show notifications, by app, just without content.

One tip to keep from looking stupid is when you get a new device or a major update, you read through all the settings to see what's new and has changed before complaining that something isn't there.

Either that or play with the emulator that comes with the SDK before hand, I did and that's why you won't see me complaining about supposedly missing features.

Agreed. If you are interested enough to complain, then you should be interested enough to use some common sense.

Some people are just stupid. If you could find the option to turn off notification banners you are either blind, stupid or you didn't look at the settings.

Wait, how am I supposed to work without a start button!? Win 8 SUCKS! Yea, that should tell you how many of those are out there.

Haha I liked windows 8 without the start button, but people complained about losing the basic functions of the start button even though if you right click it, it gives you all the same options if not more.

Happened for me. I looked on my friend-locked screen-Lumia. Then he got text from his girlfriend, breakup. Urrgh me eyes!!!!!!! Gonna pass this news to him.

Well i do not care about my friend personal life. Just playing like on kid's corner then message pops out on upper screen with a hint of the mesage, that was on WP8. But now we can kill messaging notification banner on WP8.1.

PFF I got nothing To hide. Your want my porn go ahead and look. You want my GF phone number go ahead not my problem. You want my social security number go ahead I'll see you in court. You want my bank number go ahead I got no money.

Wow one day its how to see your notifications on lock screen ... Next day how to prevent others .... They are stretching it with these articles...

Every coin has two sides apparently. And apparently not many people bother to go into settings and check out new things. :/

Another tip: Set up your commutes (locations and times) in Here Maps. If you have the Cortana tile pinned wide, when it gets close to those times she'll show your estimated travel times with traffic conditions like Google Now does with its cards.
Here Maps lets you pin the commute tile to do the same thing but it's also integrated with Cortana so hers is the only one you need now.

Ah ha! I was wondering how to activate that predictive functionality outside of calendar meetings. Does that require My Commute to work? (which isn't available everywhere)

I believe it might. I haven't fully flushed it out yet. Only place I have commutes setup is in Here Maps. Unless she's stalking my GPS routine, it's the only thing I can attribute that she's pulling from.

This morning cortana told me when I should leave the house to get to my job by 8:30am....:-O taking into account travel time...after I confirmed I was going to work it brought up waze....awesome!!!  true story



In fact it looks like she may be learning. The tile just flipped over now with the word Traffic, I open the dashboard and she's showing me the map to gone and how long it will take to get there. It's 5:40 and I usually finish work between 6 and 6:30, so it looks like it's figuring out out.

Cool! Just noticed the same thing. She's telling me it'll take me 25 mins to get to work; it usually takes me 45 or more. wonder how accurately it accounts for traffic. I shall see.

Are you sure it's Nokia HERE maps and not Bing (Microsoft) Maps that Cortana is using? Because I'm pretty sure it's the latter...

Ok, this might help. If you have Cortana pinned, hit it, then hit the three bars in the upper right corner. Add traffic and daily glance to your interests EDIT: Under Daily Routine. If it doesn't rely on Here, you'll have to set up your favorite places in Cortana. But as I said, unless she's stalking you with GPS time stamps I don't know where she's getting appropriate times to activate if it's not from Here. Bing maps doesn't have a place to set up commutes that I'm aware of. If it does, I've never configured it there but I'm still getting travel/traffic notification on the live tile when it's time to go.
I guess what we can try is to delete any commute information you might have. Just set up your favorite places with Cortana and add traffic to your daily routine. If it starts working after a couple days of monitoring you, that's confirmation she's stalking us. Also, traffic has settings of its own. Make sure you go in and turn all options on.

Bing has route mapping, and traffic. Not sure why you would assume it has to be coming from Here. Also, the favorites in Cortana are the same favorites from the default Maps app (not Cortana, or Waze, etc). BTW, ever since Waze came out I haven't looked back at Here. It's just plain better. If I'm worried about making an appointment, I will be paying attention and not relying on the phone anyway, since even if my phone knows it will take 15min to get to my meeting, I probably want to leave a little earlier anyway. Here's commute never really worked that well for me anyway.

Was was cool but my experience was that it was hella slow and a massive battery suck, and the voice is really low quality. It also didn't work in the background which was a pain (but that may have changed by now).

I assume it's not Bing maps because:
A.) This notification works for me, I've never touched Bing maps.
B.) She knows when to notify me. You can't set that time in Bing Maps. You can in Here. Get it yet?

As I keep saying... If she's tracking you with GPS time stamps it might not be either one.

Ah, I needed to switch on traffic asked to my favourite places. Let's see how she goes now.

Regarding timings, I wouldn't be surprised if she geofences your favourite places (or at least the ones you say are home and work) and identifies your usual time of arrival to predict your behaviour.

Are Here Maps an Here Drive commutes the same? And I never worked out what Here Drive commutes were good for.

Here Maps, like (regular Bing) Maps, is used for looking up addresses and getting directions. Here Drive is for turn by turn navigation. If you use Here Maps you can select navigation after getting directions. Here Maps will then load up Here Drive and start turn by turn navigation for you. Here Maps and Here Drive perform different functions but compliment each other. Btw I use Maps, Here Maps, Here Drive and Waze all on a regular basis. No really, I do use them all.

With my commute, you can pin the commute to your start screen. At the set times, it updates the live tile with the traffic and the travel times between the places you've configured.

OK thanks.


BTW, wouldnt you think Cortana would find good use in the automatic GPS location information? I am sure she uses it, if you have turned on the Location service on your phone.A system background tasks runs anyway, if you have enabled it (which allows apps to use the cached info), so she could just use that data.



Actually any appointment that has an address associated with it will cause Cortana to show drive time.

This is just a guess but since Cortana already uses location based notifications it probably does uses the gps to know when you leave work and saves that to her notebook. I had a reminder already to make a call when I left work and she did remind me the minute I got in my car.

It's only for 1520 as it's 6" having extra screen space but I hope ms add more toggles like in Android by swiping.

but i like 5 options as an 1520 exclusive and having glance as an 1520 exclusive when the icon dont, it gives people a reason to choose between both of them, if they both had the same thing there would be no motivation to choose between the two

I'm not sure why they didn't make the action banner scrollable and include more actions in it.  I have seen scrollable banners on apps in WP8, so it's doable.  It makes not sense to even confine the 1520 to 5 and other phones to 4. Make it scrollable and everyone will be happier!

Completely supporting your opinion. Dont force such numbers on user MS. Let them choose.. then those who need only 4 will be happy and also those who need 10... Empower the user... let them choose.... 

The Me tile is pinned from the People Hub. On the contact list, you're own profile pic is at the top. Long press it and you can pin it.

Action Center > All Settings > Mobile and Sim > Sim Settings...then tick the Checkbox 'Don't use so many bloody exclamation points'.

See, it's easy when you know how.



What's amazing is that I discovered that if you swipe down while glance screen is on you will see the data you have chosen to show in detailed status on your lock screen. Wait til only the clock shows then swipe down. It will appear then go away in a couple of minutes. Neat

You're obviously not paying attention.

1. The update is coming sometime this/next week, with bi-weekly updates during the preview. 

2. This article isn't about that.  So ask that in the appropriate WPC article from a few days ago or the forum.

The article stated that an update will be released on the 22nd. Then biweekly updates after that.
1. You should read the article again.
2. Who says I can't go off topic??

Site rules says you can't go off topic. It's also polite community practice to not hijack the conversation for your own whims. We have forums for this kind of thing.

Wouldn't that make notification center kinda less useful? I've only used notification center when my phone is locked, because it saves time without the need to unlock the phone. If you really hate people looking over at your screen, either don't read the notifications or get a privacy screen.

Nothing wrong with options dude.  I actually prefer this option because I don't want my notifications over my lock screen, I'd rather have a nice Quick Action Panel on my lock screen like that and if I truly want to see my notifications I unlock it.

i belive this can be enabled if the phon is enrolled on a corporate account. I saw a screen shot  while back of a guys lock screen and he was using a password instead of a pin.

The new notification centre is a good addition. I want MS to exploit it further by implementing Actionable Notifications. I think that was the original intent. Like replying to a FB post directly from the notification, texting, liking etc.

I never really knew what an action center is. I jumped from Symbian to Windows Phone directly. I'm glad I was introduced to the action center for the first time in WP8.1, and I'm loving it already!

If privacy and security were really the root reason for disabling notifications from being shown, why wouldn't there be an option to hide Action Center as well?

Last thing I need is my device in the wrong hands and disabling connections and radios.

If your lock screen is having a passcode, you'll be asked for your passcode before you making some changes on Action Center

I was having the same concern as rndtan and have been asking many, but never got a clear response... Thanks for the reply alvinsfb... have u used it? and seen it asks for a password... Also another user says that one could tap on the settings cogwheel icon in the action center and the phone unlocks even if locked with a password... is that true???

Selecting "All Settings" will prompt for password. Some quick settings will prompt for password and some don't (e.g. brightness will not, but wifi will).

how to get mobile data connection into those quick access buttons??and how come the screenshot above shows 5 access buttons?i have only four options to go with on lumia 620.

You get 5 action center buttons if you have a 1520 (larger screen size) as explained above in the comments^^^

I think that if your phone supports 'More Tiles' on the start screen, then choosing more tiles will add the extra icon in the action centre. The 920 supports the smaller tile setting in WP8.1 (three columns of medium tiles / six small) and when turned on, has five actions available. It's not just limited to the 1520, it depends on your screen, so I think it's possible on the 920 and above.

Already mentioned, but would love an option to hide message contents in banners. I still want the banner, just something that says, "Text from Jesse" instead of "Jesse: This is something you only..."

Please is the developer update still on, because I keep getting error message when trying to check for it.

I went and bought a Lumia Icon tonight, after having used a Lumia 521 with WP8.1 on it since last Monday. It's incredible how much from 8.1 I missed already, having to go back to 8.0!

Thanks. My question is why can't you send just one update to twitter, 4square and facebook from the live tile anymore? Love all the rest but I think that function is messed up.

Haven't you heard?  The new "extensibility" is going to save the world from efficient use of social networks!  Microsoft got tired of having to update the core OS for those social networks that were integrated, in favor of opening APIs to developers to "plug in" via the new extensibility.  Unfortunately, this is just a fraud.  There is NO real integration anymore and any claims that third-party apps are now able to plug in are a joke.  All Microsoft has done is moved to fake hubs that are really nothing short of app folders.  That's it.

Wow, didn't even know the notification center could be opened while the phone is locked! I have not read one tech blog where this feature was ever mentioned in a windows phone 8.1 review! I think that is the shock going through a lot of people's mind, even before we can fathom the possibility of turning this off as a feature!!!

Still, if you hit "settings" with the locked phone in the stripped action center, it will take you to the settings menu and it automatically unlocks your Phone without the need of password, so no security guaranted anyways, how 'bout that uh?

Asks for the password. Doesn't automatically unlock when the ' All settings' cogwheel is tapped.

It doesn't, not on my HTC 8X. If the phone is locked and you swipe down and go to settings then press back, you are in the phone with no password requests at all.

Strange... Asks me for the password as soon as I tap settings from the action centre on my 1020.

Not on my HTC 8X, I swipe down, press settings, it asks for PIN, if I press back it goes back to the notification center.

Are you sure the Phone was actually locked? There's a difference between screen lock and phone lock depending on the timeouts you set and how it was locked. There are two timeouts, one for screen lock and one for requiring password to unlock. If you for instance lock the screen with the power button, and then unlock it before the 'require password' timeout is triggered, then the phone is not locked, and you won't need the password to unlock it. In that case you also wouldn't be asked for a password from the action center. If you wait longer, the phone will be locked and you will need to enter a password to unlock or use the action center short cuts.

The setting is staring you in the face in settings. My grandmother found it instantly. Seriously what's the next article about... How to change theme color? There's really no difference between the two. ;-)

Hey Dean any idea if the swipe down action can be completely blocked when the phone is locked. Now anyone can swipe down on my locked phone and switch to flight mode....

Is the action center also disabled while in kids corner? Hope it can be.

What about toast notifications, can those be disabled? Also do toasts also show up when in kids corner? It would be good to just hear a notification sound and that's it, in case the phone is in guests' hands but you still want to be notified if you have something new.

Yes, nice tip. But I tipped WPCentral some days ago about a way to make SMS notifications somewhat useful and still...

Hey guys. I just found out that you can ask Cortana the cause of death of some famous people. Like "Gandhiji cause of death". Try it!

All I miss about notification/action center is a shortcut to silence all. Why do I have to reach for the volume rocker and tap twice when I can just do it in the action center ?

Because too many people whined to Microsoft that they absolutely HAD to have separate volume controls.  So, the end result was that Microsoft SCREWED it up for those of us who had no use for separate volume controls and wanted to actually use the volume buttons to control all volume.  Now the volume buttons are useless.

This looks like quick swipe from top to view quick settings - microsoft shouldn't added that feature and maybe transparency. anyways love the new notification center especially its simplistic design.

This looks like quick swipe from top to view quick settings - microsoft shouldn't added that feature and maybe transparency. anyways love the new notification center especially its simplistic design.

Well what if I dont want even the action center over the lock screen?. i.e. i want no response to swipe down over a locked phone... Because now anyone can put my phone in flight mode with just a swipe and a tap even if ive locked it with a password.

It doesn't toggle flight mode when your phone is locked. You need the password to unlock and toggle it.

Only certain Action Center actions will work without a password when locked. So things like brightness and rotation lock work. But, you can't change Wi-Fi, airplane mode or location without unlocking.

another great tip, WPcentral is simply the best Windows Phone Site ever... and windows phone 8.1 is so nice I can't wait to get a final version...

Oh, good GRIEF!  "search the various Live tiles on my Start screen for which app wanted my attention"?  Seriously?  How about keeping those important tiles at the top so that it's OBVIOUS?  I find the notification center. to be a complete waste of resources.  Talking about a chaotic mess.  I don't use it, not at all.  If I could disable it completely I would.

Tapping "All Settings" on lock screen while locked and then pressing "Back" simply unlocks the phone without asking passcode.. That's terrible mistake!!! MS should address this before releasing to public. NL720...

My 1020 always asks for the password when I tap on 'all settings' from the action centre on the lock screen.

Got it fixed.. My setting for password was for 3 minutes. Setting it to each-time now asks for password correctly.

Are you able to disable the action center on the lock screen? If my phone is stolen, I don't want the crook to be able to turn off the GPS even when it is password protected.

Now that is neat! Wish 8.1 came out already so I could show it to my friends and family and interest them into finally buying a windows phone! These features will tip them over when deciding to buy a windows phone or not. Lumia 1520 FTW!

Hey, btw, I'm wondering why I can see on the picture 5 shortcuts?!?! On my Ativ S I have only 4?! How to enable it?

I hadn't noticed this before and haven't read about it but now when you get or send a text with a phrase contaning something like "...Sunday Night" it will become a link that takes you to the calendar to create an event for that day. Is this new to 8.1?