The Notes app on iOS has a collaboration tool that allows multiple people to do just that: collaborate on a note. Anyone added to the note can read and edit the text in real time, just like on Google Docs. It’s an incredibly useful feature for connecting people remotely working on a single project, for work or school, but the collaboration feature can also be used to have a hidden conversation.
Currently there is no way to send a self-destructing messageon your iPhone, a la † You can always delete the text message on your end, but it will still exist on the recipient’s end (that is, until iOS 16 is feature).
With Notes, however, you can write a message in the note, which the other person can then read, delete, and reply to. You can do this back and forth, with each person deleting each message after reading it.
In practice, you could have an incredibly long and personal conversation – without any proof that it ever existed.
If you want to learn how to make a note a place for hidden conversations on iOS, here’s what you need to know.
On your iPhone, launch the Notes app and tap the compose button at the bottom right to create a new note. Then type something in the note to keep it, otherwise it will be deleted automatically when you leave the note. You can also just go to an existing note, but it’s better to start over with a new one.
Edit the note’s sharing options
Once your note is ready, you can start adding another person as a collaborator, meaning they can read and edit everything in the note. To get started, tap the More button in the top right corner, then press Share comment†
Now tap Sharing options and make sure the Can make changes option is selected under Permission. You should also turn off 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 are done configuring these settings.
Add a collaborator and share the link
Then choose a method to share the note: you can send it via SMS, email, social media, and more. If you swipe the share options, you can also Copy linkwhich copies the note link to your clipboard and lets you paste it wherever you want.
For this example I 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 give access to the note. You can also tap the To 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.
Finally, hit To copy Clutch to copy the note link to your clipboard and share it with your collaborator.
Communicate secretly via Notes
The other person, on the receiving end, should now open the note link and accept the invitation. If they accept, they will be forwarded to the Notes app and to the collaboration note you just created.
To communicate, just type something in the note, which the other person can see in real time, without having to hit send. They will also receive a notification when the note is changed.
Each person in the note is given a corresponding color (just for a moment), so everyone knows who typed what. You can also swipe right from the center of the note to see the name of who wrote the message, as well as a timestamp for when the message was written and any associated colors.
You can also tap the Share comment button (with the check mark), go to Manage Shared Note and then turn on Mark all changes† That way, all messages remain permanently marked in the corresponding color, making the conversation easier to read.
And if you want to keep your communication calmer, delete your message or the other person’s message to get it out of the note. That way, your conversation will be more like Snapchat, with ephemeral or ephemeral messages that outsiders can’t see when they’re snooping through your notes. You can do this with any text in the notes, as well as photos, videos, links, drawings, or other attachments you add to the note.
Permanently delete your secret conversation
Not all secret conversations can go on forever, so now is the time to end them.
If you own the note and want to keep the note intact for everyone to see, but prevent them from editing it, you can easily do that. Tap the in the top right View participants button and then press Manage Shared Note† To remove a participant, swipe left on the name and then press remove or you can tap their name and then tap . to tap Remove access†
In addition, you can tap the stop sharing option, which not only removes participants from the note, but also removes the note from all their devices.
If you don’t own the note, you can simply delete the note from the Notes application.