How does Teams private channel work?

Balu Ilag | December 12th, 2020

How does Teams private channel work?

Microsoft Teams Private channel

Private channel: This channel focused private collaboration within a team. Private channels are different than standard channels, private channel is already rolled out and available in Teams for use. It is important to notice for an architecture perspective thing are little bit different for private channel such as information that shared in private channel is stored differently than standard channel because each private channel has its own SharePoint site collection with enabled file sharing. Microsoft is making sure that information shared in private channel are only available to the private channel member not for the Teams member. Since each private channel has its own SharePoint site collection that’s why Microsoft has increasing the site collection count from 500000 to 2 million site collection.

How does private channel work?

Microsoft took while to made private channel available is because it has its own complexity, and it is making sure the private channel is really a private.

Remember, private channel has its own SharePoint site collection means if your Teams has more private channel then the site collection count will grow as well.  So, it is important to inform your users that create private channel only if it is necessary.

Private channel chat is also a different than chat in standard channel, any chat that happen in private channel will not be store in the exchange online mailbox of the office 365 group but instead those chat will store in the individual mailbox of the people who member of that private channel.

Who can create private channels? by default anybody in your organization can create a private channel. You as an admin can control the private channel creation ability at the tenant level or at the team level.

For tenant level, you as an admin can define a policy in Teams admin center, for which users in your organization can create private channel. As Team owner you can also control private channel creation in your team by clicking on More Option then select Manage team then click on Settings and remove check mark next to the Allow members to create private channels. Refer below figure 1 for more information.

Figure 1 Private channel restriction setting

How do I create private channel?

Private channel is accessible to a specific people or group who added as member of that private channel inside the team. To create private channel, login to Teams apps and expand the team under which you want to create private channel click on More option icon (…) that is next to team name and you will see multiple option, select Add channel to create channel. Then on the next screen gives meaningful name to private channel and description to identify the channel and then select the privacy type as Private – Accessible only to a specific group of people within the team that will make the channel as Private channel. Refer the below figure 2.

Figure 2 Give meaningful name & description to private channel

After giving name and selecting privacy type next screen you need to add the members for the private by typing their name. Since this is a private channel so only the people you add here will see this channel in team. If you want to add member later then just click on “Skip” button. Refer the figure 3

Figure 3 add members to the private channel

Now you will see private channel created, next to the channel name you will see lock icon that is identification mark tells that this is private channel. For example, figure 4 shows the Acknowledgement channel as private channel.

Figure 4 Private channel and lock icon next to name.


Understanding Microsoft Teams Administration book. Retrieved from

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