Control your privacy series: How to hide your phone number on Signal and use a username instead

Cristina POPOV

March 06, 2024

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Control your privacy series: How to hide your phone number on Signal and use a username instead

Signal, the preferred social messaging app among privacy-minded people, has recently introduced a new privacy upgrade that lets people connect without sharing their phone numbers and control who can find them on Signal by phone number.

Until this upgrade, Signal used phone numbers for user identification, making some users feel uncomfortable in certain situations where they preferred not to disclose their phone numbers.

Additionally, anyone who had a phone number could easily find a person by that number on Signal. With this update, Signal allows its users to opt out being found and enhance their online privacy.

How to use a username instead of phone number in Signal

If you want to use Signal but don't want to share your phone number, create a username instead. This will help you hide your number from others, except those who already have it in their contact list.

To create a username:

  • Open the Signal app on your device.
  • Go to Settings and find the "Username" section
  • Pick a unique name that includes at least two numbers.
  • Verify availability and set your username.

Once you've created a username, you can share it with others who can use it to connect with you. You can also create a QR code or link that directs people to your username, making it easier for them to connect with you.

To connect with someone via their username, open the New Chat screen on Signal and type it in.

A username is not a permanent handle or profile name, but it adds a layer of anonymity and control to your interactions. You can change itas often as you like and delete it entirely if you no longer want to use it.

Control who can find you on Signal

If you choose to use a username instead of your phone number, you’ve already enhanced your privacy because only people with your exact unique username will be able to find and start a conversation with you.

And with the latest update, you can now control who can find you by your phone number on Signal, too.

To access this feature, go to Settings > Privacy > Phone Number > Who can see my number.

You can either choose to have your phone number visible to "Everyone" you message on Signal or "Nobody." If you select "Nobody," only the people who already have your phone number saved in their contacts will see it on Signal.

To take advantage of these features, you and the people you are chatting with on Signal will need to use the most updated version of the app.

More and more people who are concerned about their privacy are turning to Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection to continuously monitor their personal information and safeguard themselves against data breaches. This service allows them to see which apps are accessing their data, sends them immediate alerts in case of a breach, and provides them helpful advice on how to minimize their digital footprint.



Cristina POPOV

Cristina is a freelance writer and a mother of two living in Denmark. Her 15 years experience in communication includes developing content for tv, online, mobile apps, and a chatbot.

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