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Signal is one of the best messaging apps for people who value privacy, but its biggest criticism was that it used your phone number to register and message other people. The company has now addressed that flaw and your phone number is now hidden by default in Signal. You should still take a moment to change a couple of preferences and completely hide your phone number, though.

How to hide your phone number on Signal

The Signal privacy settings screen on an iPhone, showing the options to hide your phone number from everyone.

Credit: Pranay Parab

Open the Signal app on iPhone or Android and tap the profile icon in the top-left corner. Now go to Settings > Privacy > Phone Number. Under Who Can See My Number, select Nobody (this option is enabled by default). Next, you should select Nobody under Who Can Find Me By Number. This option is set to Everybody by default, a move to make it easier for people to find you on Signal. If you disable this, new contacts won’t be able to ping your phone number for Signal messages or calls.

Set up your Signal username

Signal won’t be of much use if no one can find you at all. That’s why the app now allows you to create a username. Instead of using your phone number, your contacts can ping you on your Signal username, which will complete the process of hiding your phone number on the service. To set up your Signal username, open the app on your phone and tap the profile icon in the top-left corner. Go to Settings > YOUR NAME > Username > Set up your username.

You can now create your Signal username. In order to protect your privacy and reduce unwanted messages, Signal insists on adding two digits at the end of your handle. If your preferred username is Lifehacker, your Signal handle will have to be something like @Lifehacker.76. If you change your username, you’ll get a new set of numbers at the end. Once the username is created, you’ll be back to the profile page. You can tap QR Code or Link to see your personal profile link and a QR code. Share this with people you trust and they’ll be able to use it to message you on Signal.

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