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How to Master Your TikTok Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Changing Your Settings


Short-form video app TikTok has taken the world by storm, amassing over 1 billion monthly active users globally as of 2022. With the average user spending 95 minutes per day on the app, TikTok has become a major force in the social media landscape.

But while TikTok‘s highly personalized For You page and endless stream of creative content are undeniably engaging, it‘s crucial for users to understand how to customize their experience by utilizing the app‘s various settings. From privacy and safety to screen time management, TikTok offers a robust set of tools to help users take control of their experience.

In fact, a 2021 study by the nonprofit organization Internet Matters found that 61% of parents of teens on TikTok were concerned about their child‘s privacy on the app, while 30% worried that their child was spending too much time on TikTok. By educating themselves on TikTok‘s settings, users of all ages can mitigate these risks and create a more positive, tailored experience.

In this ultimate guide, we‘ll provide an expert-level deep dive into all of TikTok‘s key settings categories. Whether you‘re a concerned parent, a privacy-conscious user, or just looking to fine-tune your For You page, read on to learn how to master your TikTok experience.

Accessing Your TikTok Settings

No matter where you are in the TikTok app, you can access your settings in just a few taps. Here‘s how:

  1. Open the TikTok app on your mobile device
  2. Tap the profile icon in the bottom right corner to go to your profile page
  3. On your profile page, tap the three-line menu icon in the top right corner
  4. In the menu that appears, tap "Settings and privacy"

You should now see the main Settings and privacy menu, which is divided into several categories:

  • Account
  • Privacy
  • Safety
  • Notifications
  • Content & Activity
  • Family Pairing
  • Balance
  • About

In the following sections, we‘ll explore the key options within each of these categories and provide expert tips and insights to help you make the most of them.

Account Settings

Your Account settings are where you can view and modify your profile information, secure your account, and control your account status. Here‘s a breakdown of the key options:

Profile Information

Tap "Edit profile" to update your:

  • Profile photo and video
  • Username (you can only change this once every 30 days)
  • Bio (up to 80 characters)
  • Instagram and YouTube links

Regularly updating your profile helps your audience get to know you and establishes your identity on the app.

Account Security

TikTok offers several options to help keep your account secure:

  • Two-factor authentication: Require a verification code sent to your phone number in addition to your password when logging in
  • Password: Update your password regularly and use a strong, unique password
  • Login activity: See a list of devices logged into your account and remotely log out any unrecognized sessions
  • Manage devices: View and unlink any devices connected to your account

According to cybersecurity firm BlueVoyant, 1 in 5 TikTok accounts is vulnerable to being hacked due to weak passwords. Enabling two-factor authentication and using a strong password are crucial steps to protect your account.

Account Management

Options here include:

  • Switch to Pro Account: Access analytics like follower growth and content insights to track your performance over time
  • Deactivate or delete account: Temporarily disable or permanently delete your TikTok account. This can be useful if you need a break from the app or want to close your account entirely.

    Account information

    View your:

  • Username history: See a list of all usernames associated with your account
  • Login history: View a record of IPs and locations you‘ve logged in from
  • TikTok ID: See your unique user ID number

Regularly reviewing this information can help you spot any suspicious login activity on your account.

Privacy Settings

Privacy is a top concern for many on TikTok, especially parents and younger users. Here‘s how TikTok‘s Privacy settings let you safeguard your personal information and curate your in-app interactions:


Decide who can see your TikTok content and activity:

  • Private account: Make your account private so only approved followers can view your videos
  • Suggest your account to others: Allow TikTok to recommend your profile in other users‘ For You feeds
  • Let others find you: Choose whether people can search for your account using your email address or phone number

While a public account allows your content to reach the widest audience, a private account gives you more control over who can view and interact with your posts. 29% of Gen Z TikTok users in the US report having a private account.


Manage your interactions with other users:

  • Who can send you direct messages
  • Who can comment on your videos
  • Who can duet or stitch with your videos
  • Who can view your liked videos
  • Who can mention you in comments or captions
  • Who can tag you in videos
  • Who can use your videos for duets
  • Allow downloads: Choose whether other users can download your videos
  • Suggest account to others: Control whether TikTok can recommend your account to users you may know

Use these settings to restrict unwanted interactions while still allowing genuine connection with your community.

Personalization and data

Decide how TikTok can collect and use your information:

  • Ad personalization: Allow or limit TikTok from using your in-app activity to show you targeted ads
  • Ad authorization: Allow or disallow TikTok to use your content in ads shown to other users
  • Data sharing with business partners: Choose whether TikTok can share your information with its advertising and measurement partners
  • Download your data: Request a copy of the data TikTok has collected about you, including your activity and message history

According to a 2021 report by Pew Research Center, 33% of US TikTok users were not aware that the app collects data about them in order to determine which videos to show them. Regularly reviewing your personalization and data settings can help you stay on top of how your information is being used.

Safety Settings

Along with the Safety options in your Privacy settings, TikTok also provides dedicated tools to help you curate your in-app experience and protect your well-being:

Comment filters

Automatically hide comments that may be inappropriate or offensive:

  • Filter spam and offensive comments: Activate TikTok‘s automatic filters to hide spam and comments containing abusive language
  • Filter keywords: Create a custom list of keywords, phrases, numbers and emojis that you don‘t want to see in your video comments

According to TikTok‘s transparency report, the platform removed over 85 million videos globally in the second half of 2021 for violating its Community Guidelines, with minor safety being the top reason for removal. Comment filters are a key tool to help prevent harmful interactions.

Restricted Mode

Toggle on Restricted Mode to automatically limit the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all ages. TikTok does not disclose its parameters for identifying mature content, but this setting can be useful for younger users or those who prefer to avoid potentially sensitive material.

Family Pairing

TikTok‘s Family Pairing feature allows parents and guardians to remotely link their TikTok account to their teen‘s and set content and privacy controls including:

  • Screen Time Management: Set daily time limits and a schedule to restrict TikTok use
  • Restricted Mode: Limit the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all ages
  • Direct Messages: Restrict who can send direct messages or turn off DMs altogether
  • Search: Disable search for content, users, hashtags, or sounds
  • Liked Videos: Decide who can view the list of videos your teen has liked

While no parental control is foolproof, Family Pairing can be a valuable tool for facilitating safer TikTok use and more open dialogue around healthy social media habits. As of 2022, nearly 10 million teens had enabled Family Pairing on TikTok.

Notifications Settings

TikTok‘s Notifications settings allow you to customize how and when you receive push and in-app notifications. Here‘s what you can control:

Push notifications

Toggle on or off push notifications for:

  • Likes, comments, new followers, and mentions
  • Direct messages and video chats
  • Recommended videos and creators
  • TikTok LIVE videos
  • Trending sounds and hashtags
  • System notifications like app updates and login alerts
  • Quiet mode: Silence all notifications during set hours

In-app notifications

Control in-app notifications for:

  • Recommended videos and creators
  • TikTok LIVE videos
  • Educational videos about TikTok‘s features and community

Additional expert tips for managing TikTok notifications:

  • Turn off notifications for specific content categories (e.g. gaming, beauty) to help curate your feed
  • Set app time limits through your device‘s screen time settings to reduce notification distractions
  • Unsubscribe from notifications from specific creators if their content is no longer relevant to you
  • Use Quiet mode to set tech-free times like during school, work, or family time

Content and Activity Settings

Use your Content and Activity settings to fine-tune your For You page and Activity tab:

Content preferences

Manage the content and categories you see:

  • Preferred languages: Add additional app languages to see content in those languages
  • Content types: Choose to see less of certain video categories like pets, gaming, or food.
  • Video quality: Adjust video download quality to conserve mobile data or optimize viewing experience

A 2020 study by researchers at UC Berkeley found that user actions like commenting or liking a video are more influential in shaping the TikTok algorithm than passive actions like rewatching or viewing duration. Regularly engaging with content you enjoy can help train your For You page over time.

Activity status

Allow or disallow other users from being able to see that you‘re currently active on TikTok. Turning this off can help you browse more privately.

Blocked accounts

View a list of accounts you‘ve previously blocked and unblock them if desired.

Liked videos

Choose whether other users can see the videos you‘ve liked on your profile. This can be useful if you tend to like more personal or sensitive content that you don‘t want publicly visible on your profile.

Screen Time Management

TikTok provides built-in tools to help you track and manage your time spent on the app:


  • View a breakdown of your daily and weekly time spent on TikTok
  • See how your screen time compares to the previous week and to the TikTok average
  • Break down your time spent by day of week and time of day

Regularly reviewing your Dashboard metrics can help you become more aware of your usage patterns and identify areas where you may want to cut back.

Screen time controls

Set boundaries around your TikTok use:

  • Daily time limit: Choose a daily usage limit and select whether to automatically log out of TikTok or require a passcode to continue using the app once the limit is reached
  • Screen time breaks: Set regular timed breaks from the app and choose whether to automatically log out or require a passcode to continue using TikTok during breaks
  • Mindful posture reminder: opt in to alerts when you‘re using TikTok with your head and neck tilted down for too long

As of February 2023, users under age 18 now automatically have a 60-minute daily screen time limit on TikTok. A passcode is required to continue using the app past this limit, and teens will receive a weekly screen time recap in their inbox.


By taking advantage of the wealth of settings TikTok offers, users can create a highly personalized experience that aligns with their individual needs and values. From securing your account and curating your feed to managing your interactions and screen time, TikTok‘s robust customization options put the control back in your hands.

But as with all social media, your experience on TikTok will evolve over time. As your interests change, new features launch, and you hit different life stages, your ideal settings setup will likely shift. The key is to approach your TikTok settings not as a one-and-done task, but as an ongoing part of your digital wellness practice.

By regularly reviewing your data, privacy, and screen time dashboards, having open conversations with friends and family about healthy tech habits, and making small tweaks to align your online life with your offline values, you can harness the power of TikTok to authentically express yourself, learn from others, and expand your horizons – all while safeguarding your well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I make my TikTok account private?

A: Go to Privacy in your settings, then toggle on Private Account. This will make your videos visible only to approved followers and allow you to manually approve new follower requests.

Q: Can I see who has viewed my TikTok videos?

A: No, TikTok does not allow users to see who has viewed their videos. You can see metrics like total view count and average watch time in your Pro account‘s Analytics tab, but not individual viewer information.

Q: Is there a way to filter out negative comments on my TikTok videos?

A: Yes, you can enable comment filters to automatically hide comments that may be spam, offensive, or contain certain keywords. Go to Privacy and safety in your settings, then tap Comments and activate your desired filters.

Q: How can I change my TikTok username?

A: Go to Profile in the bottom right, then tap Edit profile. Tap your username and enter a new username, then Save. Note that you can only change your username once every 30 days.

Q: What should I do if I suspect someone has hacked my TikTok account?

A: If you notice unexpected changes to your profile, new videos uploaded without your knowledge, or other suspicious activity, your account may be compromised. To secure it:

  1. Change your password immediately in your Account settings
  2. Enable two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security
  3. Remove any suspicious linked accounts or login activity in your Security settings
  4. Contact TikTok support to report the issue and seek further assistance

Q: Can I hide specific videos from my TikTok profile without deleting them?

A: Yes, TikTok allows you to make individual videos private while keeping them in your drafts folder. Open the video you want to make private, tap the three dots icon, then select Privacy settings and choose "Private." The video will no longer show up on your public profile but will still be accessible to you.

Q: How can I control what types of TikTok ads I see?

A: TikTok‘s ad personalization system uses your in-app activity and information to show you targeted ads. To customize your ad experience, go to Privacy in your settings, then tap Ads personalization. From there you can toggle off ad personalization entirely, or use the Ad categories menu to opt out of specific ad topics.