Signal usernames will keep your phone number private

You can share or change your Signal username at any time.


Instant messaging app Signal is best known for its privacy-related settings, though with phone numbers being the heart of the platform since its inception, there was no way to fully hide your own number until now. Earlier today, Signal announced that you'll soon be able to create a unique username (not to be mistaken with your profile name), which you can share with others via a link or QR code — as opposed to sharing your number. You'll be able to change your unique username as often as you want, but it needs to contain two or more numbers at the end, as part of Signal's anti-spoofing efforts. You can even delete your username entirely, as it is an optional feature.

Naturally, you'll still need a phone number to sign up for Signal, but note that with the new default, your number will no longer be visible to everyone (you can change this setting manually, if needed). There will also be a new option which prevents people from finding you by your number; they will need to have your exact unique username to do so. In other words, people who already have your number won't necessarily know that you are also on Signal, which is a good thing if you prefer to stay anonymous in this platform's public groups.

As is the case with any new feature, the likes of spammers and scammers will eventually find a way to abuse usernames, as you won't be able to verify their numbers instantly. Pro tip: when you see new contacts that appear to be your acquaintances, always double check with them through other means — preferably in person, or at least via a phone call. You may look out for these new Signal features in a few weeks' time, or you can get an early taste in the beta release.