Signal’s New Usernames Will Let You Keep Your Phone Number Private

Signal’s New Usernames Will Let You Keep Your Phone Number Private

For those who care about digital privacy, few apps are more beloved than Signal. For years, the end-to-end encrypted messenger has offered some of the best privacy protections on the web. Strong encryption, zero subscription fees, and virtually no data collection? What’s not to like?

That said, there’s always been one little flaw with the messenger’s privacy protections: Unless you get pretty creative, Signal forces you to reveal your real phone number when you call or text someone. This means that whoever you’re communicating with has your real contact information—something that can be frustrating if you’re someone who’d prefer to keep that information private.

Now, however, Signal is rectifying this issue with the introduction of usernames. In lieu of sharing your phone number with someone, you’ll be able to share a personalized handle, instead. On Tuesday, the company published a blog in which it announced the change. The post says:

If you don’t want to hand out your phone number to chat with someone on Signal, you can now create a unique username that you can use instead (you will still need a phone number to sign up for Signal). Note that a username is not the profile name that’s displayed in chats, it’s not a permanent handle, and not visible to the people you are chatting with in Signal. A username is simply a way to initiate contact on Signal without sharing your phone number.

The new feature will be instituted by default, meaning that your contacts won’t see your number anymore unless they’ve previously saved it into their contacts. This is pretty great. Signal was already a beloved app in tech circles but this simple change will make its service that much better. Use it now.

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