The iOS News app provides contact photos for each of your conversations-including group chats. Even if you do not have a picture for a specific contact, its initials will be displayed instead. For non-contacts, a general profile avatar is displayed. These give the threads a bit of shine, but if you're looking for more privacy or do not like the look, you can easily hide those images and icons.
Removing contact pictures in messages keeps your eyes away from them, but there's also room to clear your conversation. If this option is hidden in the message list, each thread preview displays more of the last comment in a discussion, regardless of whether it is a received or sent message. If you're a fan of minimalism, you prefer the bare-bones interface of iOS 8 and earlier or just want to clean up the layout. Disabling user icons for text and iMessages on your iPhone is a must.
Hide contact photos, initials, and icons from messages
To hide contact photos, initials, and profile icons from the Messaging application, go to Settings and tap on on "news". The second setting from the top is "show contact photos". Disable this setting to disable the feature. The change is instantaneous, so you do not have to restart apps or your device.
Below you can see how conversations in the News app with enabled contact photos, initials and profile avatars (left) and appearance disabled (right). It works for all messages in the app, ie for SMS users and iMessage.
, Initials and profile avatars are also displayed at the top of the navigation bar in each conversation. Disabling contact photos in messages also hides those bubbles for photos, initials, and profile avatars. They only contain the name of the contact or group, their e-mail address, or possibly a phone number if they are not in your Contacts directory.
Initials and profile avatars go back to Settings, tap on "Messages" and check the box next to "Show contact photos".
This article was created during the special coverage of gadget hacks about texting, instant messaging, phone calls, and audio / video chats with your smartphone. Take a look at the entire chat series.
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