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Signal adds username support and removes phone number requirement

Signal adds username support and removes phone number requirement


Signal announced Tuesday that it is starting to support usernames, so you won't have to give out your phone number to new contacts if you choose.

The chat app is first starting with support for usernames in beta, and once it's widely available, your phone number will be hidden from other users in the Signal app by default unless it's already saved in your phone's contacts. It will be displayed.

Changing your username also prevents others from finding you by your phone number on Signal. This is an optional setting. If you choose to use that setting, others can only contact you on Signal if they know your exact username.

Signal said in its announcement that usernames don't completely replace phone numbers in terms of how to set up an account, but they serve as an alternative to providing that information when starting a conversation with someone.

Signal is also adding a QR code option for sharing your username.


Signal, like other apps like WhatsApp, also offers a QR code option to direct others to your username.

Usernames must be unique and have two numbers appended to the end, Signal said, to make usernames “equal” and minimize impersonation. You can change your username as many times as you like and delete it if you no longer use it.

Ideally, this change would give you more flexibility in how you use Signal while still maintaining your privacy. With the current system requiring a phone number to set up Signal, several of my colleagues have set up his Signal account with a completely separate phone number dedicated to contacting sources.

This username system, especially the ability to change your username at any time, has the potential to protect your privacy without giving you access to your phone number set up across multiple services.

This username system will be widely rolled out to Signal users over the coming weeks.




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