Signal Introduces Usernames, Allowing Users to Keep Their Phone Numbers Private


End-to-end encrypted (E2EE) messaging app Signal said it’s piloting a new feature that allows users to create unique usernames (not to be confused with profile names) and keep the phone numbers away from prying eyes.

“If you use Signal, your phone number will no longer be visible to everyone you chat with by default,” Signal’s Randall Sarafa said. “People who have your number saved in their phone’s contacts will still see your phone number since they already know it.”

Setting a new username requires account holders to provide two or more numbers at the end of it (e.g., axolotl.99) in an effort to keep them “egalitarian and minimize spoofing.” Usernames can be changed any number of times, but it’s worth noting that they are not logins or handles.

Put differently, a username is an anonymous way to initiate conversations on the chat platform without having to share phone numbers. The feature is opt-in, although Signal said it’s also taking steps to hide by default users’ phone numbers from others who do not have them saved in their phone’s contacts.

In addition, users can control who can find them by their numbers using another setting, restricting people from messaging them even if they are in possession of the phone numbers.

Both these options can be toggled via the following steps –

“Your phone number will no longer be visible to people you chat with on Signal, unless they have it in their phone’s contacts,” Sarafa said. “You will also be able to configure a new privacy setting to limit who can find you by your phone number on Signal.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here