Why am I not getting text notifications when my phone is locked?

Text notifications are a key way we stay connected on our smartphones today. When your phone is unlocked, receiving text notifications is usually seamless. However, some users discover their text notifications don’t come through reliably when their iPhone is locked.

Not getting text notifications when your iPhone is locked can be frustrating. It means potentially missing important messages. In this article, we’ll cover reasons why text notifications may not come through on a locked iPhone and troubleshooting steps to address the issue.

Notifications When Phone is Unlocked

When your phone is unlocked and you are actively using it, notifications from apps will typically appear briefly at the top of the screen as banners or pop-ups. This allows you to view the notification and take action on it if desired, such as opening the messaging app to view a new text message. The notification sounds and vibration will also occur as normal when the phone is unlocked.

On iPhones running iOS, notifications appear as banners at the top of the screen when unlocked. Android phones also show notifications at the top when unlocked. You can take action directly on the notification or swipe it away. The notification sounds, vibration, and visual banners ensure you are made aware of new notifications even while using your device.

So in summary, when your phone is unlocked and you are actively using it, notifications should appear visually, play sounds, and vibrate as expected.

Notifications When Phone is Locked

In most cases, you will not receive text notifications when your iPhone is locked. This means that if your screen is off and requires a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID to unlock, you likely won’t get alert sounds, banner notifications, or badge updates for new texts that come in. The text messages will still be delivered to your device, but you will not be actively notified about them until you unlock your phone and view the home screen or open the Messages app.

This lack of notifications for incoming texts on the lock screen is normal behavior for iPhones. As explained on Apple’s support discussions, “you won’t get text, call or other notifications while the screen is locked” (Source). The reason is that Apple’s iOS is designed to protect privacy and prevent sensitive information from appearing on the lock screen where others could potentially see it.

Why Notifications Don’t Come Through

There are a few reasons why you might not get notifications when your iPhone is locked:

Privacy and security – To protect privacy, iOS does not display the content of notifications on the lock screen by default. You’ll see that you have received a notification from a certain app, but not the actual content of the message. This prevents private information from being visible if someone else picks up your locked phone.

Battery saving – iOS tries to prevent apps from constantly lighting up the screen and draining your battery. To save power, it limits how often apps can trigger notifications when the screen is off.

Focus/Do Not Disturb mode – If you have enabled Do Not Disturb or Focus modes that limit notifications, you will not get alerts while these modes are active. Check your Focus settings to ensure you have allowed notifications from important people and apps.

App notifications turned off – Check the notifications settings for each app to make sure alerts and sounds are enabled. You may have disabled notifications for certain apps.

Glitches – Sometimes there are software bugs that cause delayed or missed notifications. iOS 16 in particular has had issues for some users. Restarting the phone or updating iOS can often resolve these glitches.

As you can see, in most cases notifications are limited on the lock screen by design. But there are settings you can adjust if you want to receive more notifications when your iPhone is locked.

Notification Settings

You can customize your notification settings on both Android and iOS devices. On Android, open the Settings app and go to Apps & Notifications > Notifications to control notifications for each app. You’ll see options like allowing a sound, vibrating the phone, popping up on screen, etc. Google’s support page explains the Android notification settings in more detail.

On iOS, open Settings > Notifications to manage notifications globally or by app. You can turn off notifications entirely for specific apps here. Apple also allows granular control over notification delivery and display. Their support article covers the iPhone notification settings thoroughly.

The key settings to check are allowing notifications to show when the phone is locked, and enabling pop-ups, sounds, and vibration. Disabling these can prevent notifications from coming through when the screen is off and locked.

Allowing Notifications When Locked

There are a few different settings you can adjust to allow certain notifications to come through even when your iPhone is locked:

First, make sure that Notification Center is turned on for your Lock Screen. Go to Settings > Notifications, and under Allow Notifications turn on Notification Center. This will allow all notifications to show on your Lock Screen.

You can also allow notifications from specific apps to override your general Do Not Disturb settings. Go back to Settings > Notifications and select the app you want to allow notifications for. Under Allow Notifications, turn on “Allow notifications when Do Not Disturb is on.”

For critical alerts like calls, texts, and other notifications from favorite contacts, enable “Allow Repeated Calls” under Repeat Alerts. You can also customize notifications on a per-contact basis. From the Contacts app, select a contact, tap Edit, then turn on “Emergency Bypass” to allow notifications from that person even when Do Not Disturb is on.[1]

Finally, check that you don’t have “Hide Alerts” enabled for any individual conversations in the Messages app, as this will mute notifications from those message threads only.[2] With the right combination of notification settings, you can customize which alerts come through while your phone is locked.

[1] https://discussions.apple.com/thread/254577082
[2] https://discussions.apple.com/thread/255038896

Third Party Apps

Some third party apps and services allow notifications to come through even when your phone is locked. This can be useful if you want to receive alerts for certain apps regardless of your phone’s lock status. According to The Verge, apps like LockWidget, Lock Screen Widget, Widgetable, and Always On AMOLED can provide configurable widgets and notifications on your lock screen. Services like AcDisplay and C Locker Pro also give you more control over your lock screen notifications. With the right third party app installed, you can customize your lock screen to show notifications in the way you want. Just be aware of battery life and security impacts of allowing more notifications through your lock screen.

Specific Cases

There are some specific cases where certain notifications will still come through even when your phone is locked. One example is priority notifications from select apps. On Android, you can set notification priority for certain apps in the system settings (https://github.com/signalapp/Signal-Android/issues/8579). This allows notifications from those high priority apps to come through regardless of whether your phone is locked or unlocked. On iPhone, you can set different alert styles for each app under Notification Settings, which functions similarly to Android’s notification priority system (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/254455011). So if you give an app priority or change its alert style to “Alerts,” those notifications have a higher chance of displaying even on the lock screen.

Another case is notifications from messaging/communication apps. Since these apps are critical for real-time communication, their notifications often bypass the lock screen by default. So you may notice that texts, calls, or messages from apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc. will come through when your phone is locked. This ensures you don’t miss time-sensitive communications just because your phone is locked.

Finally, certain third party lock screen replacement apps may also allow notifications to come through when locked. These apps essentially replace the default lock screen with custom functionality for notifications, settings, etc. So they can be configured to always show notifications regardless of the lock state (https://www.reddit.com/r/androidapps/comments/a9fcdf/app_for_prioritising_notifications_on_a_lock/).


If you’re not receiving text notifications when your phone is locked, here are some troubleshooting steps you can take:

First, check your notification settings. Go to Settings > Notifications and make sure notifications are enabled for the Messages app. You can also verify the Lock Screen and Notification Center options are turned on (Source).

Next, check if you have Focus/Do Not Disturb enabled. This can prevent notifications from appearing while it’s on. Make sure Focus is not blocking notifications (Source).

You may also need to check app-specific notification settings. Open the app in question and look for notification options in its Settings. Make sure they are enabled (Source).

If issues persist, try restarting your phone. This can clear up any software glitches preventing notifications. Additionally, check for available software updates and install if any.

As a last resort, you can try resetting all settings which will restore notifications and permissions. Make sure to backup your device first.

If you’ve tried all troubleshooting steps and notifications still don’t come through when locked, you may need to contact the device manufacturer or your carrier for further support.


In summary, there are a few main reasons why you may not be getting text notifications when your phone is locked:

  • Your phone’s notification settings are restricting notifications in some way when the phone is locked, such as turning off lock screen notifications entirely.
  • The app sending the notification does not have permission to send notifications when locked due to its notification settings.
  • Your phone is in a focus mode, do not disturb mode, or other status that blocks notifications.
  • There is a software bug or other technical issue preventing notifications from coming through consistently.

To address this, check your general notification settings, review settings for individual apps, and make sure your phone is not in a mode blocking notifications. Troubleshoot by testing notifications with different apps and restarting your phone. If issues persist, contact the device manufacturer or mobile carrier for further support.

The key takeaway is understanding what notification restrictions are enabled on both your device and individual apps, and disabling these if you want to receive notifications consistently even when your phone is locked.

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