What Does ⌛ Preview Hidden in macOS Messages App Mean?

In the morning, you are getting ready to go through your day. Now, you open your Mac, you launch the Messages app and you get prompted with a weird message that says “Preview Hidden” and you cannot view the contents of the message.

Now, you are puzzled as to why this happened and why is it only happening now? 

Well, the short answer is that the “Preview Hidden” message is used by Apple to block and filter unwanted messages and media content from restricted contacts and unknown contacts.

Preview Hidden in macOS Messages App

There is a wide variety of reasons why this message can appear too, and that is what we’re going to talk about in this post. 

Not only will we be discussing the possible reasons why you’re getting prompted with a “Preview Hidden” message on your Mac, but also if this happens to a contact that you normally communicate with, we are going to show you how to fix this issue too!

Before we get into fixing it, let’s first understand why the “Preview Hidden” message may appear on your Mac.

What Does The “Preview Hidden” Message Mean on macOS?

There are a couple of reasons why the “Preview Hidden” message appears in the Messages app on macOS. Here are some of the reasons why the “Preview Hidden” message appears on the Message app on Mac.

  • The ‘Show Preview Option’ in Settings is Disabled.

On macOS, there’s an option to turn off message previews on the notification. This will hide all sensitive content of the message when it appears on the notification banner. 

If you decide to disable previews on your messages then, it is possible that it causes a glitch on the Messages app which makes the “Preview Hidden” message appear even if you already viewed the message from the notifications.

  • It May Be a Message from a Person That Is Not in Your Contacts.

If you have Screen Time turned on and your ‘Allowed Communication’ is set to Contacts Only then, you won’t be able to see the message from persons that are not on your Contact list. 

This explains the reason as to why you are seeing the “Preview Hidden” message on your Macbook. It filters the messages from other people that you don’t know so that you can avoid getting spam or phishing messages. 

  • You Received a Message from a Restricted Contact.

Apple has an option for iMessage to block a person or restrict them so that you won’t receive messages from them. This means that you won’t be able to see messages from persons that you have restricted. 

However, it is possible that the Messaging app encountered a bug that still displays message notification from the person that you blocked but the actual content of the message is not available. This can be the reason for the “Preview Hidden” message on the Message app.

Now that you have an idea of why this unusual “Preview Hidden” message appears on your Mac, check out some troubleshooting guides that you can follow to remove the “Preview Hidden” message on Mac.

How to Fix “Preview Hidden” in macOS Messages App.

There are a couple of ways to fix the “Preview Hidden” problem in the Messages app. However, in this guide, we are going to show you the most effective ways on how to solve this issue so that you can get back on viewing the content of these messages as soon as possible.

1. Restart Your Mac

If you are getting the “Preview Hidden” message on your Mac, you can try doing a simple restart to solve this issue. Several users claim that restarting their Mac fixed the problem with the Messaging app on macOS. 

The “Preview Hidden” message can just be a simple system bug and a simple restart of your Mac’s operating system can fix this issue. 

In restarting your Mac, you can do any of the steps below:

  • On your Mac, find and click Apple Menu then, select Restart.

  • Locate your Mac’s Power Button then, press and hold it until the power options menu pop-up. After that, click on Restart or press “R” on your keyboard.
  • You can also do a force restart. To do this, press and hold both the Control + Command keys together on your keyboard while pressing the Power Button until the screen turns off.

After restarting your Mac, wait for it to finish booting up then, try to open Messages and see if the “Preview Hidden” issue is fixed. If not, you can proceed to the next method.

2. Change ‘Allowed Communication’ Settings.

If you receive a lot of messages from unknown contacts, you might want to change your ‘Allowed Communication’ settings to Everyone. This will remove the “Preview Hidden” message every time an unknown person sends you a message on your Mac.

To change your settings, follow the steps below.

  1. Open your Mac and launch the Settings app.
  2. Next, you will see a Search Bar on the upper right part of the Settings page (as shown below). Search for “Restricted Contacts” and hit your Enter key.

  1. Now, click on Screen Time then scroll down to Communications Limits. It is a green application icon with a person in the middle of the circle.
  2. After that, find the Allowed Communication section and click on During Allowed Screen Time.
  3. Lastly, change your Allowed Communication from Contacts Only to Everyone.

Preview Hidden in macOS Messages App

After changing the settings to Everyone, close the Settings and the Messages app. Then, restart your Mac and see if the “Preview Hidden” message is gone.

If you are still having problems after changing your ‘Allowed Communication’ settings, try doing the next method.

3. Unblock the Restricted Contact.

If you want to view messages from Restricted Contacts, what you can do is to unblock the person first then block them again after viewing their messages. 

Restricted contacts are being filtered on the messaging app which causes the “Preview Hidden”.

To unblock your contacts, proceed to the steps below.

  1. On your Mac, open Finder and click on the Applications tab.
  2. Now, under the Applications tab, open the Messages app on your Mac.
  3. Next, on the menu bar click on the Messages tab. You can find it on the upper left part of the screen.
  4. After that, click on Preferences. Alternatively, you can press on the Command + Comma (,) button on your keyboard to open Preferences.
  5. On the Preferences page, find and click on the Accounts tab.

Preview Hidden in macOS Messages App

  1. Next, under the Accounts tab, click on the Blocked button which you can find at the middle part of the page next to the Settings button.
  2. Lastly, find and click the person that you want to unblock and press on the (-) button which is located at the bottom-centre part of the screen.

Now that you have unblocked the person, restart the messaging app on your Mac, and try viewing the message with the “Preview Hidden” issue. 

If the “Preview Hidden” message is still present after doing the steps above, you can proceed to the next method.

4. Enable Notification Previews.

If you have your notification previews disabled, then you will not see the content of the messages when it appears on the notification banner. In some cases, macOS might think that you are still viewing the message on notifications so it hides the preview of the message.

Enabling Notification Previews on your Mac can possibly solve the issue of the “Preview Hidden” message. To do this, follow the procedure below.

  1. On your Mac, click on the Apple menu located at the upper left part of your screen.
  2. Next, find and click on System Preferences.

Preview Hidden in macOS Messages App

  1. Now, inside the System Preferences, locate the Notifications icon which is usually beside the Language and Region icon.

Preview Hidden in macOS Messages App

  1. After that, click on Messages. Then find Notification Previews and set it to Always.

After that, restart the Messages app on your Mac then try checking if the “Preview Hidden” message is gone. 

This sums up our guide on how to fix the “Preview Hidden” message in the macOS Messages app. We hope that this article helped you in fixing this problem on your Mac.

Also, if you know other ways on how to fix this problem let us know in the comments section. We would gladly give you credit once we updated this article in the future.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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